Govt will focus on completing existing projects in 2021 – Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

The Government intends to channel its energies to completing existing infrastructure projects instead of committing to new ones, according to the caretaker Minister for Finance, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.

Delivering the 2021 budget statement in Parliament on Friday, March 12, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said President Akufo-Addo wants his administration to chart a new direction this year.

He highlighted the wastefulness of delayed and abandoned infrastructure projects as has been noted nationwide.

“Every new budget invariably contains a host of new projects to be initiated at the expense of ongoing projects.”

“This puts pressure on our finances and also has historically resulted in arrears with many contractors not being paid on time for work done and escalating the overall cost of these projects.”

Ahead of budget readings, contractors and consultants working on government infrastructure projects across varying sectors consistently complained about the non-payment of money owed them by the state.

The Ghana Chamber of Construction Industry complained that over US$1.8 billion was needed to settle debts owed to contractors and consultants in the country.

Also of concern has been the lack of progress of abandoned or delayed health infrastructure projects despite the government committing to building at least 111 new health facilities nationwide.

Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu stressed that this state of affairs needed to be a thing of the past.

“Governments owe the people a duty to use limited public funds responsibly… The era of abandoning public projects started with public funds must end,” he said.

“The focus of government for this year, therefore, is the fulfilment of existing commitments and completion, to the largest extent possible, of existing projects,” Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu added.

By the government’s count, there are some 8,700 ongoing infrastructure projects as of the end of 2020.

Source: Modern Ghana