No, Akufo-Addo gov’t did not secure Volivo Bridge loan

On November 14, 2023, the Daily Graphic and other media outlets published a story suggesting that the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government had secured a loan amounting to $100 million from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to construct the Volivo Bridge in the Greater Accra Region.

The story titled “Government secures $100m to construct Volivo Bridge” reported that the Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako Atta, made the claim when a delegation of Chiefs from the Oti Regional House Chiefs paid a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House.

However, Member of Parliament (MP) for Adaklu constituency, Hon. Kwame Governs Agbodza, challenged the veracity of the stories on X (formerly Twitter). He argued that the said loan was secured by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in 2016.

 The MP’s post generated some controversy, with many wondering under which government the loan for the construction of the Volivo Bridge was secured.

Fact-Check Ghana has verified the reports in the dailies and presents the facts below.

Explanation: Parliamentary Hansard dated October 27, 2016 indicates that James K. Avedzi, the then chairman of the Finance Committee presented in Parliament the “Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Agreement between Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Government of the Republic of Japan (acting through the Japan International Co-operation Agency [JICA]) for an amount not exceeding ¥11,239,000,000 for the construction of a new bridge across the Volta River on the Eastern Corridor Road at Volivo.”

The Parliamentary Hansard suggests that the erstwhile National Democratic Congress government had secured or was in the process of securing the loan facility for the construction of the bridge.

Subsequently, in December 2016, when the loan had been secured, a signing ceremony was held between the Government of Ghana and the Japanese government. The then Minister of Finance, Mr. Seth Terkper, signed on behalf of Ghana while Mr. Kaoru Yoshimura, the then Japan’s Ambassador to Ghana, signed for his country.  The event was reported by many media houses (here, here and here).

The project, according to the reports, was expected to construct approach roads of 1,000 metres long, and ancillary facilities such as rest stops, toll plaza, and navigation and illumination lights for aesthetic touristic value for the users.

Mr Tekper is reported to have said that the African Development Bank (AfDB) will provide another facility to co-finance the connecting roads from Asutuare Junction to Asikuma Junction to link the bridge. He added that the new bridge across the Volta River was part of the larger government strategy of making Ghana the transportation hub of West Africa.

To further ascertain when the loan was secured, Fact-check Ghana contacted a Senior Programme Specialist at JICA, Joshua Mabe.

“It was secured in 2016. The project has started in technical terms. It is at the procurement stage but there is nothing on site because the procurement has not been completed. It was supposed to be a four-year project. It had some challenges which is why it hasn’t started yet. It was passed in October 2016 but the agreement was signed on December 6th, 2016. When it was passed, it was widely publicized in 2016,” he said.

The Volivo Bridge, according to the project outline on the website of the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), states that the proposed and agreed location of the bridge at the Eastern “corridor is of strategic importance, especially for freight movement within Ghana and neighbouring land-locked countries. The Project is to enhance national transport capacity by offering alternative bridge to the Adomi Bridge on Eastern Corridor through construction of a bridge as part of the Eastern Corridor.”

From the above findings, it is clear that the JICA loan facility of $100 million for the construction of the Volivo Bridge was not secured under the Akufo-Addo government but rather under the erstwhile NDC government.

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