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Bad roads, traffic congestion cost Ghana billions yearly

May 19, 2017, 4:23 p.m.

Ghana loses billions of cedis worth of productive hours, as a result of bad roads and congestion in urban areas, Dr. Jonathan Annan, a senior lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Business School has revealed.

This is as a result of the several man-hours wasted on the road due to ghastly traffic congestion. People attempt to beat the sickly gridlock by leaving their homes as early as 4am and still report late at work.

After a few hours of work, they get tired and start to think of the horrible experience they will face on the road back home.

Dr. Jonathan Annan, who commissioned a study on road transport congestion management says the figure constitutes about 10.5% of the country's Gross Domestic Product while congestion on our roads constitutes 8.21% of GDP.

“When we have bad roads, [they] lead to congestion because the input capacity is greater than the output capacity,” Dr. Annan told Kojo Yankson, host of the Super Morning Show on Joy FM.

The senior lecturer believes it is time government agencies responsible for the sector begun taking a critical look at the situation and save the nation colossal amounts lost.

“This is a serious issue [that] I believe the government agencies should look at seriously”.

Untarred Roads

But the situation may not improve sooner as a greater proportion of the country’s roads remain uncompleted. According to Ing. Joseph Odei, Chairperson in charge of Civil and Technical Division of the Ghana Institution of Engineers (GhIE), almost close to 60% of road contracts awarded by the government for is left uncompleted.

This, he said, is largely because governments frequently succumb to pressures from citizens to build roads even when there is no money fund such projects. “There are situations where probably as a result of finance, we spread the money that we have so thinly and therefore we are unable to construct the road structure so properly and this is where supervision and construction comes in.

“But then the financial capacity of the government is not that strong enough to be able to spread roads to all parts of the country at the same time," he stated, cautioning that “when the road is not completed and the contractor leaves, obviously there will be safety implications.”

Admitting that the development puts the government in a “dicey” situation, Ing. Odei said “there is a need for planning, and [for us] to take our time to ensure that we provide quality.”

His colleague, Ing. Kwabena Bimpong who chairs the Membership Committee and National Council, said contractors are usually left to do as they please because persons who are charged with supervisory responsibilities, have been lethargic.

Mr. Bimpong also said it is more expensive to leave a road incomplete since the cost and safety implications could be more disturbing.

“If you don’t have money don’t go into that investment because you can’t just do a half-way investment and leave it” he advised.