Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia yesterday made stunning revelations about how government contracts for the construction of hospitals, roads and schools in the country were outrageously inflated under the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.
Dr Bawumia said some of the contracts had been inflated by about 600 per cent.
Speaking at the ‘Value for Money’ conference in Accra, the Vice President revealed that “at a recent meeting of the Economic Management Team (EMT), it emerged that Ghana constructs 60-80 bed district hospitals for $25 million and I said “Ebeii!”
He wondered how the African Development Bank could construct a 150-bed hospital in Accra for about GH¢5.76 million or $1.3 million without equipment, saying “even when they decide to equip the said hospital for some $1 million, the total cost cannot get to more than $ 3 million.
“So how come we are building district hospitals for $25 million, a figure which even excludes the tax exemptions granted on equipment imported for the hospitals?” he asked rhetorically.
The Vice President noted that “for one hospital that Ghana is currently constructing, we could have built and equipped six hospitals.”
“If Dangote can build a 1000-bed hospital for nearly under $20 million, it begs the question why Ghana builds an even smaller facility (about 400-bed) for nearly $300 million, something is not right here.”
In that regard, Dr Bawumia said, “It’s therefore imperative that at the same time that we are seeking suitable investment opportunities to meet the infrastructure gap, the government must take steps to ensure cost efficient programme design and delivery to reduce financial wastage and protect the public purse.”
Meanwhile, the World Bank estimates that on the average Ghana invests approximately $1.2 billion per year in infrastructure projects.
The Africa Infrastructure Diagnostic Report in 2010 (AICD) also revealed that $1.1 billion is lost each year in Ghana on infrastructure projects due to inefficiencies.
It said for Ghana to meet its infrastructure deficit, $ 1.5 billion is required each year for the next 10 years.
Dr Bawumia insisted that over 90 per cent of corruption in the country is related to procurement.
He stressed the need for government to pay attention to the procurement processes, adding that current project costs are believed to be in excess of those accepted in the sub-region and globally.
“For instance, a comparative analysis reveals that better and quality hospitals are currently being built at cost-effective rates in places like India than in Ghana,” he emphasized.
He said, “This government, under the leadership of His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has committed to seeking the investment required for the construction of roads, schools and hospitals while at the same time maximising the efficiency of existing expenditure on these infrastructure to ensure value for money.”