A former Chairman of the National Population Council (NPC), Dr Andrew A. Arkutu says the construction of the tunnel which connects the Shiashie-Boundary Road in East Legon to the Spintex Road has rather made vehicular traffic on the stretch worse instead of solving the problem.

According to him, the failure of the engineers who constructed the tunnel to make numbers count has resulted in an increased traffic on the road, thereby compounding the already bad vehicular traffic.

“By failing to make the numbers count, and at significant cost to the taxpayer and to the frustration of the intended beneficiaries, the planners have succeeded in making an existing bad situation worse,” he added.

Dr Arkutu was speaking at the annual public lecture of the Ghana Association of Former International Civil Servants (GAFICS) in Accra on Wednesday, October 23, 2019, on the theme: “Numbers count: strengthening the culture of planning.”

Giving a scenario where the country has failed to utilise numbers in making informed decisions, Dr Arkutu said: “What happens when we fail to make the numbers count in our decision making?

“Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen, I live in East Legon. Many of you, I dare say, know the tunnel which connects the Shiashie- Boundary Road in East Legon to the Spintex Road. Under normal traffic conditions, it takes me five minutes to drive from my house to the tunnel.

“During the rush hour, particularly early in the morning when parents drop their children at school, it could take me up to an hour. That was before a new tunnel was built to ease the traffic congestion during peak hours. The new tunnel was officially commissioned with the usual fanfare several months ago. So, what has happened?

“The congestion has got worse. It now takes me no less than an hour and half to get to the tunnel from my house during the rush hour.

“I believe that the new tunnel was planned and executed by the appropriate and competent authority with the best intentions for the benefit of the people who have to use the tunnel every day.

“So, as the Chinese may ask, what went wrong? The simple answer is that the planners did not make the numbers count. This tunnel was conceived as an engineering project without taking into consideration the steadily increasing volume of vehicular traffic even during ‘normal hours’.”

“The authorities could have used existing technology to accurately establish the flow of traffic during “normal” and peak hours over a period of say six months. They would have found out what many residents in East Legon already knew, that the volume of traffic was increasing even during “normal hours. They didn’t.”

Background

GAFICS constitutes a pool of highly qualified Ghanaians with extensive experiences and expertise in many scientific, social, economic and related fields who have worked with international organisations across the globe, including the United Nations; its departments, funds and specialised agencies, the world Bank, International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank, Commonwealth Secretariat, African Union, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as well as other reputable international organisations.

GAFICS was incorporated under the Companies Code, 1963 (Act 179) on September 26, 2000, and formally inaugurated in April 2001. It was started with a membership of 28 and now boast with over 100 active members.

The objectives of GAFICS include to contribute to the social and economic development of the country by placing the skills and expertise of its members at the disposal of the government as well as other Ghanaian organisations and institutions.

The organisation also foments national debate and discussion on development issues and other topic of national interest through publications, lectures, seminars, workshops and other activities.

GAFICS organised its first public lecture on January 30, 2002 with Lt. General (Rtd) E.A Esrkine delivering the lecture on the topic: “UN conflict management in Africa-ECOWAS sub regional perspectives.”