The tendency to abandon developmental projects – started by previous administrations – mostly fed by political rivalry and the fear that the completion of such projects might enhance the image of one’s political opponents and win credit for them, has been a subject of discussion since time immemorial; but was re-ignited earlier this week.
In an era where a political party that has tasted power can be satirized and accused of having achieved nothing, even if when in power, that party went ahead to complete its opponent’s initiatives, devaluing or discrediting their contribution becomes routine.
Sadly, the debate over which administration can best lay claim to the completion of a particular development project and also accusations of abandonment of state projects; for the reasons enumerated above, was stoked on Peace FM’s ‘Kokrokoo’ program, Wednesday.
Euroget funded health facilities and the Bank of Ghana Hospital was at the heart of the discussion with the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) claiming “ownership” of such health projects.
The NDC is crediting former President John Dramani Mahama for securing funds for the construction and completion of the projects, but the ruling party is in absolute disagreement over the NDC’s claims.
With the back and forth altercation over the Euroget and BoG hospitals, though needless, the question on the hearts of many Ghanaians is which administration funded and saw these projects through from the stage of construction to completion?
Abdul Malik Kweku Baako sought to put finality to the issue. But a bit of a historical background should suffice.
Euroget De-Invest, an Egyptian company, was contracted by the Government of Ghana in 2008 to put up nine hospitals, including a Military hospital in Kumasi, Ashanti Region.
Sources indicate that under the provision of the contract, the entire project should have been completed within three years of commencement at the cost of $519 million.
The projects included the construction of a 160-bed Regional hospital at Wa in the Upper West, a 60-bed district hospital for Salaga in the Northern Region, a 60-bed district hospital at Tepa in the Ashanti Region, a 60-bed district hospital for Nsawkaw in Brong-Ahafo Region and a 500-bed Military hospital in Kumasi.
There was also to be a 60-bed district hospital for Konongo and a 250-bed hospital in the Ashanti Region and the rest are a 100-bed district hospital for Madina and a 60-bed hospital for the Twifo-Praso District in the Greater Accra and Central Regions.
All these are in the name of the Ministry of Health.
Ownership of Euroget Health Facilities
Speaking to host Kwami Sefa Kayi on Wednesday edition of Peace FM’s ‘Kokrokoo’ program, the Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, disclosed that the process for the Euroget funded hospitals that the NDC is claiming ‘ownership’ of in their Green Book and manifesto, actually commenced under the regime of former President John Agyekum Kufour.
Corroborating his revelations with a pile of documents, Mr. Baako disclosed that former President Kufour secured a loan agreement for the Euroget projects but his government was voted out of power before he could see to its possible commencement and completion.
The change of government passed the mandate to the NDC to oversee the execution of the projects, he noted.
Kweku Baako acknowledged the contributions of the late former President John Evans Atta Mills who ensured continuity of the projects, but later, he stated, it came to a standstill upon his unfortunate demise.
“There’s no doubt and it’s well documented that cabinet and Parliamentary approval of the credit facility agreement or if you like the loan agreement for this Euroget projects was done during the Kufour administration . . . Parliamentary records will show that activity, that’s where it begins,” he said.
Completion Levels of Euroget Projects
According to him, the Mills/Mahama government rather gave consent to the implementation of the projects that had already gained Parliamentary approval under the Kufour government.
The seasoned journalist further revealed that the John Mahama administration might not have even funded the projects.
“I’m not even too sure whether we can put it that way because if the Government of Ghana secured funding, it should have gone to Parliament. Nothing of that sought happened. What the cabinet did was to give the consent to Euroget that they can mandate Absa to raise the funding and Euroget’s difficulty was not only the Arab Spring. Some emanated from Ghana,” he clarified.
Akufo-Addo’s Role In Euroget
The New Crusading Guide Editor-in-Chief then pointed out that it took President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to secure funds for the continuity of the projects; listing their various stages of completion currently.
“The Wa 160-bed Upper West Regional hospital has been completed 100 percent and handed over. The 100-bed Ga East Municipal hospital has also been completed 100% and handed over. The 60-bed district hospital, Tepa, is 80%; anticipated completion date is August 2020,” he emphasized adding that the 60-bed district hospital for Konongo and Salaga district hospitals will be completed in December 2020 and February 2021 respectively.”
The other hospitals, he noted, are also near completion.
|Listen to Kweku Baako making his point in the video below|
Enter Bank of Ghana Hospital
Kweku Baako highlighted that the NDC cannot make claims to the Bank of Ghana hospital either because the first and second phases of the project were completed under the Akufo-Addo administration.
“Finally, Bank of Ghana hospital, as I’ve said over and over, had nothing to do with the central government . . . It began in March 2014 but the first phase was completed on 30th August 2018 and completion of the second phase in November 2019…..My goodness! The two phases were to be functionally integrated and I have all the documents here, official Bank of Ghana documents!”
Neglect of Mahama hospitals
He said contrary to NDC’s accusations that the President has left the hospitals to rot, Mr. Baako stated categorically that none of the hospitals including the district hospitals and ten (10) Polyclinics in the Central Region that were established under the Mahama regime have been abandoned by President Akufo-Addo.
“None of them had been abandoned . . . They started the projects in January 2016. They got completed in April 2018. These are the records. Start date was January 2016, the anticipated completion date was January 2018 but works completed and commissioned for use in August 2018 rather . . . That also is the principle of continuity; so the question of abandoning Mahama projects then is fallacious.
“When the Mahama administration was exiting, only one had been completed. That is Dodowa…it was completed and opened for use under the Mahama administration,” he stated clearly.
Mr. Baako, therefore, wondered why the NDC is fighting so hard for exclusive credit over the Euroget projects and specifically the Bank of Ghana hospital when records clearly indicate the genesis of these developmental initiatives.
“What has happened to the NDC people was that they sought exclusive credit in their manifesto, in their Green Book; everywhere on Euroget. They want everything to themselves and that’s where the fallacy was,” he added.