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Betty Mould defends 'skyrocketing' cost of classroom projects

Education Minister, Betty Mould Iddrisu has proffered a strong defence for alleged high cost of new six-classroom blocks built across the country in the last two years.
 
Figures released by the Education Ministry indicate that a six-classroom block cost between GHS250,000 and GHS270,000.
 
The figures appear too exorbitant for the Minority in Parliament who demanded explanations from the sector minister on the floor of the house.
 
They claimed that at a time when government spokespersons were trumpeting a fall in interest and inflation rates, such reported hikes in construction cost could not be justified.
 
“In 2008, a six classroom unit with an office, staff common room, a store, a toilet facility all attached was at the cost of GHS84,000. The Hon minister is now telling us here that in the Ashanti Region the average cost is now over 261,000.
 
“Inflation we are told is declining and we have a single digit; we are told the currency is stable and at a point was even appreciating against major currencies… with all these favourable conditions what has resulted in the over 200 percent increase in the cost of such a facility?” one of the minority members demanded in Parliament.
 
The Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also challenged the figures by the Education Minister.
 
According to him, a similar six-classroom block built only recently by Newmont Ghana and donated to a community was at a cost of GHS68,000.
 
The Minority Leader was even more disappointed with the fact that a number of the structures which were built at this high cost had their roofs ripped off after a rainstorm in the Northern Region.
 
He said most old structures in the same vicinity had their roofs perfectly on.
 
But Betty Mould Iddrissu insisted the cost of the structures was justified.
 
“These figures have been prepared by experts; they have been prepared by consultants both at the Ministry of Education and the Government’s AESL (Architectural and Engineering Services Limited). And these are the figures we have,” she argued.
 
She explained the cost per a six-classroom block depended on the materials used in the construction and the region it is located.
 
“…In the Brong Ahafo it is GHS263,956.84; in the Western Region it is GHS273,58.80 in the Ashanti Region it GHS261,681.35. In the Central Region it is 260,343.30,” she explained.

Source: Joy Online