……As Eastern Corridor Road Stakeholders Meeting ends in Yendi
Mohammed A. Abu
A stakeholders meeting of the construction of the Tamale-Zabzugu-Tatale road project has successfully ended in Yendi, the seat of Dagbon Kingship in the Northern Region of the West African nation of Ghana.
A Ghana Ministry of Roads and Highways project-level grievance mechanism to address emerging grievances and complaints of dwellers of the affected communities in the project catchment area and a collective resolve by all parties with interest in the project, to keep their eyes on the project and report any observation, action or inaction deemed inappropriate, were the major outcomes of the event.
With Concern Citizens of Yendi as lead convener, the meeting which was intended to deliberate on Project brief for LOT2, citizens’ expectations, emerging grievances and complaints, decisive actions on complaints among others, drew many participants representing stakeholder institutions and other various parties with a common interest in the project.
They included the Regional Highway Authority (GHA), representatives from GHA Head Office, Accra, representatives of the Ministry of Roads and Highway (MRH), a representative from the Royal Gbewaa Palace, the Sang-Lana, representative of the Mion-Regent, Savana Signatures, the Contractor (CJIC & CSCEC), among several others.
LOT2 Project Brief
The Ghana Highway Authority is the implementing Agency of the project scheduled for completion on 4 th August, 2028. Under the Transport Sector Improvement Project (TSIP), the project was awarded on a modern contract system known as the Output and Performance Based Road Contract (OPBRC).
The OPBRC contract system is underpinned by the “Tell me what you want but not how to do it” concept which unlike the traditional contract system where the contractor has to finish the entire construction works before payment, the OPBRC system recommends payment, if a maximum of 10km and a minimum of 5km work is completed.
The contractor is expected to use three (3) years for the construction works and a 4-year maintenance work implying that, portions that see an early completion will be under maintenance up to the seventh year of the contract duration.
The LOT2 stretch of the highway is a single carriageway un-asphalted road that will have roadside drains, 46 box and pipe culverts, 2 bridges, streetlights and sidewalks as well as stopping lanes and bus bays in the urbanized communities.
However, 2.6km of the road into Yendi from Tamale will experience a one-way couple upgrading. All fibre optic infrastructure installations from Tamale to Yendi and to Tatale border post will be installed.
Expectations of Citizens
Some socio-economic development interventions that come along the project are: the provision of eight basic schools, eight bole holes and one clinic to some communities alone the stretch.
These interventions according to the GHA, were arrived at through a need-based assessment conducted by a consultant in 2019, which was also reviewed in 2021 to reflect the priority needs of the people.
Nanton-Zuo in the Tamale Metropolis is one of the beneficiary communities of an 8-unit classroom block. Participants were happy about these ancillary project interventions but however questioned who and which communities the consultant consulted on the need-based assessment?
Open Forum Session
During an open forum session, the event lead Convener came out with a list of questions bordering on diverse issues while also offering other participants the opportunity to make their inputs.
The issues included need for quality work that will offer value for money, the Yendi township portions of the road be given to the Eastern Corridor Contractor (LOT1) be given first-class road status, the first two culverts before Yendi township be demolished and reconstructed, a paradigm shift from current manual based compacting of side slopes of the road to mechanized based work, the sharp curve near Zobogu which causes lots of accidents be corrected, among others.
The Dagbon Forum’s Tamale Chapter on its part asked why satellite markets were conspicuously missing in those ancillary projects meant for socio-economic intervention needs of the people while the 2nd Vice President of its Yendi Chapter, asked for the number of speed ramps on the highway ton be reduced both in number and in height specifically for reasons of patients’ transportation.
Dagbon Forum Delegation
The Dagbon Forum(DF) delegation was represented led by its Yendi Chapter’s President, Alhaji Mohammed B. Ibrahim while its Tamale Chapter was also led by its President, Mr. Zakaria Adam. Also in attendance, was the 2nd Vice president of DF Yendi Chapter, Madam Kande.
Emerging Grievances & Complaints
The Ministry of Roads and Highways established a project-level Grievance Mechanism to receive, evaluate, and address project-related grievances targeted at communities affected by the project.
Mandate to Receive Complaints and Grievances
Savana Signatures, a non-governmental organization has been mandated by the Ghana Highway Authority to receive complaints and grievances.
Under the project-level grievance mechanism complaints can be channeled to the Ministry telephony, electronic communication, physically via grievances boxes, grievance officer complaint offices created in both Yendi and Mion for the public to send their complaints directly.
Toll-free number, 0800003333,website address: www.tsipmrhgh.com
Decisive Action on Complaints
Participants pleaded to all the Authorities connected with the project to act decisively on complaints brought before them.
Approval of major Proposal
The Yendi township roads given first-class status, the replacement of the two culverts before entry to Yendi, the Zobogu curve correction, the loose excess chippings on the road that fly and break vehicles windscreens, all received positive approval.
Issue of Compensation
In June 2022, Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia cut the sod for the construction of a 167km Tamale-Yendi-Tatale road project in the Northern region as part of the Eastern corridor road project.
The Tatale-Yendi-Tamale Road Project is fully funded by a US$150 million World Bank facility which was approved on June 6, 2017, under the Transport Sector Improvement Project (TSIP).
The project is expected to be completed in two years, but under the terms of the contract, the contractors will be undertaking maintenance works for five more years, unlike previous contracts where contractors are obliged to do one year of maintenance. This will bring the total project time to seven years.
The project has been divided into what is called LOT1 and LOT2. The LOT1 stretches from Tatale-Zabzugu to Yendi highway (61.98km) whiles LOT2 is the stretch from Yendi to Tamale highway (106.02km). The Yendi stakeholders’ engagement meeting was for deliberations on LOT2.