Sekondi-Takoradi chapter of CoST monitoring progress on second Assurance Recommendations

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The local chapter of CoST International is engaging all eight participating assemblies in the Western Region on recommendations made during the second Assurance Process.

What is the process?

The Assurance Process is one of the key approaches designed by CoST International to make the infrastructure project-cycle more transparent; contributing to the building of trust and confidence in government by citizens.

It also seeks to strengthen the operationalization of existing legislations such as the Local Governance Act, Public Procurement Act, and the Right to Information Act.

The approach is also in line with Ghana’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) commitments to promote open contracting initiatives.

The assurance process, the second of its kind by the Sekondi/Takoradi chapter, monitored various aspects of the projects; including; levels of proactive and reactive disclosures of project and contract information, as well as site visitations to ascertain progress and identify shortcomings and made some recommendations for action; which necessitated the follow-up visits.

Stakeholders and projects and stages

The joint follow-up visit was undertaken by a three-member team drawn from the civil society representation on CoST Sekondi-Takoradi’s Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) and some members of the eight District Citizens’ Monitoring team.

Mrs Victoria Araba Dennis, Leader of the team said the follow-up was aimed at taking-stock of the extent of implementation of recommendations in the second assurance report since its launch in March, 2021.

The visit also examined progress being made by assemblies to disclose project and contract data onto the newly-developed CoST Sekondi-Takoradi’s disclosure portal.

The eight assemblies were assured on projects such as the construction of a CHPS compound at Yarbiw in the Ahanta West Municipality, a cassava processing factory at Bokro in the Nzema East Municipality and upgrading of two paid-parking lots at the Central Business District in the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality.

The construction of an Out-Patient Department (OPD) block at Atobiase in the Wassa East District, construction of a three-unit classroom block with ancillary facilities at Adum-Dominase in the Mpohor District and the construction of a 100-capacity dormitory with ancillary facilities for School for the Deaf at Upper Inchaban in the Shama District.

The rest are: rehabilitation of a 1.6km WAMCO-Effiakuma Road with drains and culvert approach filling at CDH in the Effia-Kwesimintsim Municipality and the construction of a 25 blocks of garages and a two-storey skills and training centre at Kokompe in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis.

At Mpohor District, key recommendations included; the provision of a detached toilet facility to cater for the sanitary needs of both pupils and teachers and the setting up of a mini-laboratory and equipping of Works Department to aid in performing basic quality tests on infrastructure projects.

The District Works Engineer, Mr. Ernest Nyampong, said although the institutional toilet facilities for basic schools was a challenge, the findings in the report had informed a shift in the design of school infrastructure to make them fit for purpose in responding to the needs of users.
To counter the teething issue of quality checks on projects, he added that the district had made allocations in the 2022 Annual Action Plan to purchase basic construction material test equipment.

In the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality, Chief Engineer Ebenezer Annoh-Kwafo indicated that the district would complement the use of basic quality test equipment with the use of a laboratory.

He revealed that preliminary meetings had begun with the University of Mines and Technology to allow access to the university’s laboratory to conduct quality tests on construction materials.

To address some of the findings from the report, pre-site meetings with all contractors would be organized before site hand-over to ensure proper house-keeping to promote safety on construction sites.

Mr. Felix Kurankyi-Taylor, the District Works Engineer at Shama District, said the project contractor had been prompted to make the washrooms disability-friendly as recommended.

He however revealed that due to the issues with the disbursement of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF), the project had stalled and was five months behind the expected date of completion.

In the Effia-Kwesimintsim Municipality, although the Municipal Roads Engineer was unavailable to respond to the issue identified in the report, the road rehabilitation project had been completed.

Also, the misaligned old and new culvert had been corrected to enhance water flow and avert possible ground depression.

Mr. Sheriff Rockson, the Municipal Development Planning Officer of the Nzema East Municipality, reported that the project had been completed after some initial delays and the defective roofing sheets and leaking spots had been fixed by the contractor as recommended.

He however stated that a drying-shed was being constructed by the Assembly to allow all actors in the cassava end-product business to make use of the factory, such as akyeke, gari, starch and tapioca producers.

Safety measures
The Municipal Development Planning Officer of the Ahanta West District, Mr Malcom Yendaw stated that contrary to the findings in the report, a temporary nurse accommodation had been provided in the CHPS compound at Yarbiw.

He however added that it had been converted into a ward for patients and that washrooms in the facility would be made disability-friendly.

He said the Assembly would also be engaging the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) and the Municipal Health Directorate to provide fire detectors, extinguishers and embossment of a digital address onto the facility; to protect the safety of users against fire and enhance location of the facility by ambulances during emergencies.

A link road from Kejabil to Yarbiw he added was under construction to enhance access to the facility.

Mr. Michael Benyaw, the Works Engineer of the Wassa East District, indicated that the reported change in scope on the OPD block was corrected to reflect the dimensions in the contract document.

He added that although the provision of a water reservoir and pumps were not factored into the initial contract, the facility would be connected to a water source since plumbing works was part of the contract.

He intimated that the project which was originally programmed to be completed in March 2020 was nine months behind schedule due to non-disbursement of DACF.

Way forward

The District Assembly has also made plans to purchase concrete test hammers, micrometer screw gauges and other simple equipment to help his department to conduct quality tests on ongoing construction projects.

The Metropolitan Works Engineer of the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis, Mr. William Tei-Kpoti said although no corrective measures were taken on the garages project at Kokompe, his outfit had taken several lessons from findings to enhance efficiency in the delivery of future infrastructure projects

He revealed that extensive stakeholder consultations, incorporation of feasibility study recommendations in project and contract design, as well as enhanced supervision of public works would be given considerable attention going forwards.

Similar garages earmarked to be located in Kasaworodo-Mampong would be guided by the findings of the Assurance Report to make it more beneficiary-centred.

A member of the team, Mr. Aziz Mahmoud provided technical backstopping on data entry onto the disclosure portal to the designated officers of participating district assemblies.

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