The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has called on the Ministry of Transport to immediately conduct a Transport Impact Assessment (TIA) to determine the number of vehicles that must be allowed and imported into the country.
The exercise, he noted, should be done in collaboration with the Ministry of Roads and Highways to determine the number of vehicles that plied the various roads in the country.
The objective, according to the Asantehene, was to decongest the heavy traffic on the various road networks, especially in the cities.
“There are so many cars being imported into the country. This critically demands or calls for a Transport Impact Assessment. If we are able to do this, we will be able to determine the number of vehicles that have been imported into the country, as well as the number of vehicles that are needed to ply our roads at any given time.
“How many kilometres of motorable road networks are there in Ghana that we are allowing so many vehicles to be imported? Everybody has a right to import a vehicle but there is the need to determine how many could ply our roads at any given time,” he noted.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu made this submission when the Minister of Transport, Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, paid a courtesy call on him at Manhyia to ask for his blessings and also inspect the progress of work on the expansion of the Kumasi Airport project which is ongoing.
Mr Asiamah was accompanied by the acting Chief Director at the Ministry of Transport, Ms Mabel Sagoe, the Director of Policy and Planning of the ministry, Ms Irene Messiba, the Managing Director of the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), Mr Yaw Kwakwa, the Director-General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Mr Charles Krakue and other technical staff from the Ministry, the GACL and the GCAA.
Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) is a technical analysis of traffic problems and safety issues relating to specific development.
The chief objective of the TIA report is to identify whether a particular development project will have an impact on the safety and efficiency of road networks.
In Ghana, traffic congestion is a major problem, especially in the central business districts of the three major cities, resulting in massive delays and fuel wastage, decrease in productivity, reduction in sales, stress and money loss.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu added that “whiles the Ministry of Transport is conducting the TIA, the Ministry of Roads and Highways will also be able to tell us the number of road networks that could be opened to accommodate these vehicles. All these affect the economy. We buy diesel or petrol and waste them in traffic. It is not good for us”.
To the Asantehene, once a TIA was conducted, it would help address and reduce the number of time vehicles spent on the road, increase productivity and save money.
Probe GACL workers’ agitations
Turning his attention to matters relating to the aviation industry, the Asantehene told the Transport Minister to probe the recent agitations by workers of the GACL and resolve all related issues to enable Mr Kwakwa operate in a peaceful environment.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu commended Mr Kwakwa for the tremendous job at the GACL considering the huge debt he inherited and how he was servicing them, especially the $274 million loan facility the government procured to finance the construction of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) Terminal Three.
“I don’t know why the workers are agitating but Mr Kwakwa is doing very well. So, please investigate it and let me know the outcome. The workers’ agitations may be fueled by someone who perhaps, is interested in the position Mr Kwakwa is occupying.
“If you follow all the things that the workers union is saying, you won’t be able to service the loan. The revenue the GACL generates now goes into an Escrow Account to service this loan.
“If Mr Kwakwa has embezzled some funds, he should be sacked but if he is working hard to service this loan and also lifting the image of Ghana high, he should be encouraged and supported to continue his work,” Otumfuo Osei Tutu stated.
Safety records at KIA
Commenting further, Otumfuo Osei Tutu further lauded the leadership of the GACL and that of the GCAA for ensuring high aviation standards at the KIA, a feat which has culminated in the KIA winning and being adjudged the 2019 Africa’s Best Airport by size and region with a passenger population of between two and five million, as well as the 2020 Best Airport in terms of safety by the Airports Council International.
“I was delighted to hear about your superb safety records at the KIA. Now, Ghana is on top and this is what we have been yearning for over the years. Congratulations to Mr Kwakwa and Charles Krakue. This achievement tells us that if we work hard, Ghana progresses but if we relent on our efforts, Ghana fails and that is not good for us”, he advised.
The Asantehene also lauded the government for upgrading the Tamale and Kumasi Airports to international status.
Mr Asiamah thanked Otumfuo Osei Tutu for his continuous support to the government and assured him of complying with all the requests that he had made.
Mr Asiamah was happy about the level of progress made at the project so far but noted that the completion date has been rescheduled to 2022.