April 19, 2017

The honorable Member of Parliament for the Wasa East, Isaac Adjei Mensah has expressed worry about the fact that the 2017 Budget statement did not make a single provision for the continuation of the cocoa roads rehabilitation projects started by the previous government.

Mr Adjei Mensah who was the immediate past deputy Minister for Roads and Highways noted that despite the importance of the project, the 2017 budget statement presented by the Finance Minister to Parliament was very silent on Cocoa Roads Improvement Programme’’ (CRIP) which he noted is very critical for the development of rural cocoa growing communities and the economic stability of the country.

According to him the previous John Mahama led government as a result of CRIP has committed enough resources into the construction of Cocoa roads which has contributed to providing easy access to cocoa growing communities and other rural areas.

This collective effort by the former government in collaboration with COCOBOD and other stakeholders he said has resulted in increase production of the commodity and enhanced standards of living.

The Wasa Amenfi East lawmaker also noted that the former government had ensured that the Road Fund was prudently managed which has generated enough funds, portions of which can be allocated for the continuation of cocoa roads especially unable to reach areas such Wasa and Sefwi areas.

Mr Adjei Mensah noted with deep concerns that the 2017 budget only made allocations for the maintenance and rehabilitation of some existing road projects but fails to acknowledge cocoa and other major roads that needs urgent attention.

He however expressed optimism that the Minister for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori Ata would make provisions for cocoa roads in the expected supplementary budget later in the year due to the socio-economic importance of cocoa roads to the development of the nation.
In 2015 then President Mahama cut the sod for the commencement of a five year Cocoa Roads Rehabilitation Projects across the country.

The US$ 750 million project under the sponsored of the Ghana COCOBOD was expected to help ease the challenges faced in the transportation of Ghana`s premier foreign exchange earner from the farm gates and cocoa growing communities which were mostly not accessible.

The specially designed road project was expected to see a yearly capital injection of US$150 million for five years.
Six out of the ten regions including Eastern, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Volta and Western were expected to benefit from the project where the cash crop is largely grown.

It was also expected to provide access roads to rural communities of the country.
The commencement of the project provided dedicated attention to such roads with significant improvements.

By Christian Kpesese