Mr. Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, Central Regional Minister on Thursday bemoaned the deplorable condition of most of the road network which remained un-tarred in the region.

wpid-Aquinas-Tawiah-Quansah-.jpgThe situation, he noted, is ?leaving much to be desired?, especially during the rainy season, adding that it was a big source of worry to the chiefs and people in the Region.

The poor condition of the large portion of the road network in the Region impacts negatively on agricultural produce with significant post-harvest losses; he lamented and cited the Cape Coast-Dunkwa-on-Offin and the Twifo Praso-Assin Fosu roads as two important agricultural produce trunk networks which are unmotorable during the rainy season.

Mr. Quansah raised the concerns at a public forum organized by the Ghana Road Fund Board in Cape Coast, to provide the platform for explaining the rationale for the collection of tolls and other levies going into the Road Fund.

The programme was on the theme; ?Financing Road Maintenance?.

He also blamed the situation on heavy vehicles with loads, plying the roads from neighbouring countries, resulting in some of the recently completed road projects in the Region developing serious potholes.

The Central Region has a total road network of 5,316 kilometres of which 1,227 kilometres are highways, 941 kilometres are urban roads and 3,150 kilometres are feeder roads.

At the beginning of this year, the mixed conditions of these roads stood at 52 percent Good and 31 percent Fair for paved truck roads and 25 percent Good, 54 percent Fair and 21 percent Poor respectively for unpaved roads.

For Feeder roads it stood at 20.13 percent Good, 49.76 percent Fair and 30.11 percent Poor, whilst urban roads respectively recorded 63. 7 percent good, 5.09 percent, fair and 31.21 percent, poor.

?Most people in our rural areas, especially those dependent on the sale of agriculture produce for their livelihood end up losing their capital, thereby entrenching the vicious cycle of poverty and our people in such circumstances are compelled to travel long distances on foot with head loads of foodstuffs to sell at cheaper prices to middlemen and other intermediaries at urban and sub-urban marketing centres,? he noted.

The Minister therefore appealed for regular and early maintenance of the few good roads to facilitate the rapid movement of foodstuffs from the food producing areas to the market centres in the Region.

?It is important to stress that any poverty reduction strategy in the Region would require the availability of motorable rural road network to feed the highways in the movement of goods and services throughout the Region,? he added.

Mr. Quansah, who is also the Member of Parliament for Mfantseman, bemoaned the situation where small potholes were ignored till they develop into man-holes subsequently weakening large portions of the road.

He admonished, ?Perhaps going back to early years of Public Works Department (PWD) road maintenance where small potholes are sealed early should be considered.?

The Minister expressed the hope that the numerous on-going road projects scattered all over the region would be effectively monitored by engineers to ensure value for money.

He described the forum as timely, especially at a time that the Government was looking at alternative sources of funding to meet the increasing expenditure that has arisen as a result of the increasing demand for road infrastructure.

Mr. Quansah indulged Ghanaians to assist the Ghana Road Fund to mobilise the needed funds for maintenance of the country?s roads whilst efforts were being made by the Government to solicit donor funds for the development of the road sector.

Members of the Ghana Road Fund Board, which was under the auspices of the Ministry of Roads and Highways, together with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport, the Ghana Highway Authority, the Ghana Private Road and Transport Union, Road Contractors, Assembly members and the media attended the forum.

GNA

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