Gov’t beats chest for saving Ghana $9m in rural electrification controversy

Government says it rather saved Ghana an amount of $9 million in the controversial rural electrification project which was passed in Parliament, Monday.

The $92 million rural electrification project grabbed the headlines after it emerged that the Chinese contractors Hunan Construction and Engineering Group and its local agents Smartty’s Production Ltd conspired to inflate the contract sum of the project.

The Minority in Parliament raised red flags over the inflated price and questioned why Smartty’s should be engaged, even if as local consultants, given its history of over pricing in the bus branding saga.

MP for Manhyia South Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh explained to Joy News the contract sum was initially inflated by as much as $22.7 million.

He said it took an independent auditor, the Crown Agent which conducted the value for money audit to beat the figure down from $22.7 million to $9 million.

He also expressed shock over the involvement of Smartty’s in yet another price inflation scandal, with the dust on the over-priced bus branding scandal yet to settle.

But in a response, the deputy Power Minister John Jinapor told Joy News’ Evans Mensah government should rather be applauded for saving the country $9 million.

He explained government did nothing untoward in arriving at the contract sum.

“It is a normal system. I don’t see the fuss about it.

He explained that contractors under normal circumstances provide details of project they want to undertake and the cost involved.

However, after value for money audit, suggestions are made which in most cases reduces the cost of projects.

According to him, the Crown Agent after subjecting the rural electrification project to critical scrutiny suggested other options that would beat down the cost of the project and achieve efficiency.

He said rather than the critics looking at the issue as money padded or inflated, they should look at it as monies saved.

“$9 million is how much savings we made based on the costing that you applied in terms of looking at the scope and probably changing some of the scope,” he insisted.

He said the $9 million would be used for other things in the same project.

“We could even decide that we will use the $9 million to build a primary substation in order to strengthen the network.

When asked why it had to take the Crown Agents for that money to be saved, John Jinapor said it was part of the agreement that a value of money audit will be conducted after the contract had been signed and so both parties followed due process.

John Jinapor also challenged the minority to provide evidence that government signed the deal with Smartty’s.


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