The government’s plan to engage a foreign national to design a master redevelopment plan for the nation’s capital, Accra has angered key professionals who have described the move as an insult to their capabilities.
This follows an announcement by Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo, of plans to engage a Singaporean architect and planner, Dr. Liu Thai-Ker, to help redevelop Accra as part of government’s agenda to transform Accra into a modern city.
Although government officials in February held a meeting with Dr Ker to help redevelop the country’s capital city to be one of the modern cities in the world, some civil engineers have kicked against the decision.
Speaking on Ghana Te sen on Radio XYZ Tuesday morning, a renowned Ghanaian Civil Engineer, Selorm Dickson, like many others with the Ghana Institute of Engineers, was not amused by the announcement.
He argued that the best approach to such initiatives was to call a stakeholder forum that will first focus on a national development plan vis a vis Ghana’s capacity and an all-inclusive open tender to give fair grounds to all interested parties.
“Some engineers in Ghana can help with the redevelopment of the city because we have been here for a long time….some of us even had our training outside the country and are exposed to a similar experience the Singaporean has,” he said.
He observed there are many engineers who are qualified to drive the redevelopment agenda well to the satisfaction of Ghanaiana and the government since it is Ghanaian professionals who can appreciate the shortcomings within the sector.
“Singapore is as it is because they used the indigenes to develop the country…Nobody did it for them; the Singaporeans did it themselves,” said Selorm who felt local experts could do the job Dr Thai-Ker was engaged to do.
Asked if the Ghanaian civil engineers could help the government realize the redevelopment agenda, Mr Dickson did not mince words as he told Kwame Minkah, host of the show that the government’s decision ignored some basics.
To him, sanitation, good roads, and access to portable and affordable water should be made available to the people before the redevelopment conversation begins.
The challenges that are expected to be solved over the next fifty years involve the high traffic situation, environmental pollution, poor housing, communicable diseases, rural-urban migration among others.
The remodeling according to Yaw Osafo Marfo, will commence with Accra and subsequently replicated across the country, and the deal is expected to be completed this year for initial works to start from next year.
But other government critics say any such action completely breaches the Procurement Act and smacks of complete disregard to laid down rules.
Speaking on Ghana Te Sen, The Member of Parliament for Adaklu, Kwame agbodza stated that the government breached the laws to consult a foreigner to spearhead the plans for the remodeling of Accra.
He questioned under which procurement act was Dr Liu Thai-Ker hired, saying Mr Osafo Maafo “acted contrary to the laws of the country.”
He, therefore, called on the Ghana Institute of Planners, members of the Ghana Institute of Engineers, and the Ghana Institute of Architects to kick against the decision since government is acting in an illegal way.
”The Senior Minister is engaging in an illegality and must be stopped… It is not right. This is not political,” added the Minority Spokesperson on Roads and Transport.