Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has broken ground for construction works to begin on the 38-km Benchema Junction-Adjoafua road in the heartland of the cocoa- and timber-rich Western North Region.
The road, to be funded by the Ghana Cocoa Board under the Cocoa Roads project, was previously awarded on contract in 2011 by the late Prof John Atta Mills, and, again, in 2014 by President John Mahama, but never constructed.
That contract was terminated on the advice of the Cocoa Roads Audit Committee when the NPP assumed office in 2017.
But breaking ground for a new contract at Elluokrom on Friday, 20 December 2019, Dr Bawumia stated: “One thing is for sure. This time, this project will be done. It will definitely be completed and the good people of Western North Region, and of this area, in particular, can have some relief. This is not a Green Book road, you are seeing it ‘feely-feely’ (with your naked eyes)”.
The Benchema Junction-Adjoafua road serves as the main conduit in the transportation of cocoa, timber and all crops produced in the region. It is also the major road linking Ghana to The Ivory Coast at Oseikojokrom. Economic activities are, therefore, hampered, perennially, during the rainy season as the gravelled surface suffers deterioration from the plies of heavy-axle trucks.
Works to be undertaken in the 28-month contract period include upgrading from an unpaved road to a bituminous surface, widening of the carriageway, construction of 22 new culverts, and reconstruction of the 50-m bridge over River Bia.
The beneficiary towns include Debiso, New Debiso, Adjoafua, Nyamebekyere, Asuontaa, Elluokrom, Domnibo, Asempaneye, Nsinsem, Sayerano, Kantankrabo, Benchema, Nkatieso and Kojina.
Dr Bawumia emphasised the government’s commitment to holistically improve the socio-economic conditions of all aspects of Ghanaian life, especially in the roads sector.
Thus, road projects, such as the upgrading of selected roads in Sefwi Juaboso (14.43km), Sefwi Wiawso (Lot 1 – 5.0km, Lot 2 – 8.1km), construction of Sefwi Wiawso – Akotombro (Km15 – 56), and rehabilitation of Buako – Asankore (km 0 – 15) are ongoing.
“This is the vision we wish to realise for our people and nation, in which the road network serves as the life wire and the circulatory system, transporting the vital produce needed by all other sectors to all other parts of the country.”
Agriculture, Dr Bawumia assured the chiefs and people of the area, would continue to remain at the heart of government policy, with well-crafted policies and programmes.
Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board, expressed delight that construction works had finally seen the light of day, disclosing that close to 50% of the region’s cocoa is transported on this road. Implements, fertilisers and other essentials for successful farming would also be delivered on time, he added.
The Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako-Atta, pledged on behalf of the government that unlike its predecessor, the Akufo-Addo administration would ensure the construction and completion of this strategically important road.
Speaking on behalf of the chiefs and people of the area, the Paramount Chief of Sefwi Wiawso, Katakyie Kwasi Bumangama II, expressed appreciation to Government for hearing their age-long cry for help, saying, “I believe this time our roads will be fixed.”
Also present at the ceremony were Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu, Regional Minister of Western North; Alex J. Tetteh, Deputy Regional Minister; Dr Kweku Afriyie, Minister of State at the Office of the President; Ray Ankrah, Deputy CEO of Cocobod; William Benjamin Assuah, NPP’s Regional Chairman, and officials of Messrs Amandi Investment Ltd, the Contractor.