The Ashanti Regional Minister Hon. Simon Osei Mensah has disclosed that the planned completion and commissioning of some headline infrastructural projects in the Ashanti Region might be hampered by the ongoing debt restructuring talks between the government of Ghana and its external bilateral creditors.

Giving updates about the Komfo Anokye Maternity Block project, he mentioned delays due to negotiations with the Paris Club and assured ongoing efforts to secure funding for its completion.

“I can’t promise that the project will be completed and commissioned this year. We have a challenge due to the DDEP. The government is negotiating with the Paris Club. My last check revealed that they haven’t signed the MoU, so disbursement has been halted.

He told Kojo Marfo in an interview on Abusua FM that the debt restructuring negotiations have affected two other projects comprising the second phase of the Kejetia Market Project and the Kumasi Airport expansion.

“Regarding the airport, we were assured that by April planes can land there, but that does not mean we would have certification to operate as an international airport,” he explained.

The Hospitals Debate

Commenting on the debate about health projects commenced, completed and commissioned in the Ashanti Region, Hon Simon Osei Mensah indicated that the NPP government had completed a number of the 8 hospitals it inherited from the NDC administration aside some thirty six health facilities his administration started in the Ashanti Region.

“So far, we have ongoing projects, totalling about 36. We met 8 of them. With these 8, we have completed Bekwai, Tepa, Konongo, and Fomena; they are now operational, awaiting official commissioning,” he touted.

We have also finished the Kumawu government hospital. The doctors are undergoing training.

Additionally, we have completed the Sewua hospital itself, with all equipment intact. We faced a challenge with power supply, but we are currently installing a 20KVA ECG sub-station dedicated to the hospital. Once this is completed, we will commission the hospital,” he added.

He highlighted the establishment of 2 infectious disease and containment centres in response to the Covid-19 pandemic at Atonsu Agogo Hospital and Sewua.

Hon. Simon Osei Mensah expressed satisfaction with the progress of work on district polyclinics in Drobonso, Sabronum, Suame, Twede3, and Manso Nkwanta, some of which he assured were likely to be commissioned this year.

Insisting President Akufo Addo will commission an unprecedented 20 to 25 hospitals before his tenure ends in December; the Regional Minister further announced that plans were afoot to commission 6 of the agenda 111 hospitals in the Ashanti Region.

“I challenge the NDC to name their projects in the Ashanti Region. I still maintain that from the 7th of January 2009 to the 6th of January 2017, they should show me just one single hospital that was ongoing or what they started and were able to commission,” he dared.

The Ashanti Regional Minister dared to resign if the opposition NDC produced evidence of a single hospital completed and commissioned for use in the Ashanti Region, in all its eight years in office between 2009 and 2016.

The NDC continues to whip a narrative that the New Patriotic Party has treated its strong hold region, the Ashanti Region, unfairly in its distribution of developmental projects even though the NPP wins a substantial part of its votes from the populous region.

By: Kwadwo Owusu