Roads and Highways Minister, Francis Asenso-Boakye has blamed the government's debt structuring programme for the delay in commencing construction on the first phase of the Tamale-Walewale road project.

In June 2022, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia broke ground for the construction of the 83km highway. The project was expected to be completed by April 2023.

The highway, also known as the N10, is part of the country's Central Corridor Road System and serves as a vital link for trade between Ghana and its neighboring landlocked countries.

It also connects the national capital, Accra, to the north of the country.

Despite its strategic importance, the highway has faced years of neglect and is now in deplorable condition.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, the Vice President stated that the project's objective was to enhance intra-urban, regional, and national trade, strengthen regional economic integration, and reduce the cost of doing business in the country.

However, two years after the ceremony, construction work has yet to commence.

Speaking in Walewale after touring the North East Region, Minister for Roads and Highways Asenso Boakye said the delay is due to the suspension of disbursement following the government's debt structuring programme. The Minister assured that construction work would resume after negotiations by the Finance Ministry.

"Very soon, we are about to finish the negotiation, and contractors will come back to the site to continue with that project," the Minister said.

The Minister began his tour in the Mamprugu Moaduri District, where he inspected several road construction projects. He examined the 52km Wiase-Yizesi-Soobiinsi road, which has been completed and handed over to the government.

Accompanied by the Member of Parliament, Mustapha Usif, the District Chief Executive, Abu Adams, and officials from various road development departments, the Minister held a meeting with the chiefs and people of the Yizesi community.

Addressing the gathering, the Minister said his presence in the region was to assure them of the government's commitment to completing ongoing road projects.

The Minister appealed to the residents to support their son and brother, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, by voting for him and the Member of Parliament, Mustapha Usif, in the upcoming elections.

The chief of the community expressed gratitude to the government for the ongoing road development in his area. However, the chief also appealed to the Minister to ensure the completion of the drainage system being constructed in the town. He explained that the uncompleted project was causing flooding in their homes whenever it rained.

The Minister also inspected the 29.4km Yagaba-Kubori-Mankarigu road, the 24km Yagaba-Prima road, and the 23km Yagaba-So road.

He continued his tour to the West Mamprusi Municipality, where he inspected the Wulugu-Kpasenkpe road, the Mishio-Prima bridge, and the Walewale township roads project.

At Mishio, the Minister expressed his dissatisfaction with the pace of work on the Mishio-Prima bridge project, which involves constructing a 210m bridge over the White Volta River to connect the Mamprugu Moaduri District, North Gonja, and Kumbungu districts.

The bridge, when completed, would reduce travel time between the West Mamprusi Municipality and the Mamprugu Moaduri District from about 3 hours to less than 40 minutes. It would also help reduce the impacts of annual floods caused by heavy rains and the spillage of the Bagre Dam by Burkina Faso.

Construction of the bridge, along with a 9.5km road, started in 2021 and was originally scheduled to be completed in early 2023. However, when the Minister visited the site on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, contractors announced that the project was only 20% complete. The Minister expressed his displeasure and dissatisfaction with the pace of work and urged the contractors to speed up.

The contractors, in turn, pleaded with the Minister to facilitate the release of funds to align with his request to complete the project on schedule.

The Roads Minister ended his day after inspecting the Walewale Township Road project.

"In Walewale, the government is constructing a number of projects involving feeder and urban roads' ', the Minister announced, adding that, "in fact, for the feeder roads, there are two faced projects which are running concurrently".

"I must say that I'm impressed with the work so far, and I'm quite confident that the contractors would finish the projects even ahead of schedule given the information I have been given.

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