Former Mayor of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Alfred Oko Vanderpuije has clarified why the Mahama government could not implement the Accra Sewer and Storm Drainage Alleviation works popularly known as ‘Conti Project’.
According to him, some conditions attached to the country’s Extended Credit Facility Program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) served as a hindrance.
The CONTI project was expected to bring an end to the perennial flooding of Accra during the rainy season.
Unfortunately, the project never materialised even though it was given the green light by Parliament on October 25, 2012, and hyped by the then National Democratic Congress government.
Speaking on The Point of View on Citi TV, the former AMA boss disclosed that they could not access the US$663,229,496 loan facility because of Ghana’s involvement with the IMF.
“Accra hasn’t changed because there were specific objectives of the CONTI project but we did not get to where we will implement the CONTI project. At the time when we went to Parliament and the project was approved for the funds to come in then around that time the idea of Ghana going with the IMF came up. Then the IMF conditions prevented the coming in of the money for the implementation of the CONTI project because if the CONTI money was to come in, from the technical financial issues, Ghana would have gone above the threshold financially. So the CONTI project had to be put aside. So we did not get the money to do the things that would have been implemented under the CONTI project”.
An emotional Oko Vanderpuije explained to Bernard Avle on the program how he had worked tirelessly with other stakeholders to secure the project only for it to hit a snag right before its implementation.
“The money was to come from Exim Bank of the US and the proposal had to go through Parliament and those are not small steps. These are not steps that you take easily; $500 million dollars to come from Exim bank and we had to put the proposal together, I went to Washington with the Finance Minister several times and then finally it went to Parliament and we passed it. The Exim bank executives were coming to Accra to look at what we were doing and then finally Parliament passed it giving us the green light to go ahead.”
“Things that would have been done under the CONTI project included things such as continuously dredging the Korle Lagoon and other three water bodies. We would also have constructed new major modern water drains throughout Accra that would have taken water away from Accra. We would have had new improved roads constructed in Accra. We would also have had new engineered landfill sites in Accra. AMA would have owned its own sanitation trucks and we would have distributed bins to all the households in Accra so that with the bins, we would have separated our waste so that our own trucks would pick them up. With all these initiatives coming under the CONTI project, Accra’s sanitation issues would have been solved and the environmental issues would have also been taken care of so that if it rained, the water could run through Accra without creating the flooding, ” he explained.
In 2013, the government of Ghana and the Conti Group of Companies of the United States of America signed a US$660 million agreement for the drainage and sewage project.
Known as the Accra Sanitation, Sewer and Storm-Water Drainage Alleviation Project, authorities said the development will control the perennial flooding as well as the sanitation challenges facing Ghana’s capital, Accra.
The project was aimed at improving stormwater flow, drainage and sewer systems in the Accra Metropolitan Area with a primary focus on works within the designated flood zones in the Odaw Basin and the Korle Lagoon to alleviate the frequent flooding and improve sanitary conditions.
The focus was to tackle priority drains needing construction and upgrade drains in the following areas: Odaw Upstream, Mataheko, South Kaneshie, South Awudome, Onyasia Tributaries, Nima Main and Nima Tributaries, Sukura/Mampon Drain and the Industrial area drain.
The contract sum was in two folds; a loan agreement of US$538,299,497 between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the United States of America for the construction of the Accra Sanitary Sewer and Storm Water Drainage Alleviation Works project; and a loan agreement of US$125,000,000 between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Standard Chartered Bank for the construction of the Accra Sewer and Storm Water Drainage Alleviation Works project.