Auditor-general pokes housing ministry over floods despite GHC117 million investment

The Auditor-General's performance audit report has revealed that each year, from 2015 to 2019, the Hydrological Services Department (HSD) significantly fell short of implementing its target of drainage facilities needed to mitigate flooding nationwide

A performance audit report of the auditor-general on the provision of flood control drains by the Hydrological Services Department (HSD) of the Ministry of Works and Housing (MWH) has revealed that an amount of over GHC 117 million has been invested to construct and maintain drains and culverts in flood-prone areas in the country from 2015 to 2019.

However, the audit report indicated that despite the investments in flood protection structures, the problem of flooding persists, with the country experiencing at least one major flood disaster every year over the past 10 years resulting in the loss of lives and property.

“We found that HSD did not produce Drainage Master Plans (DMPs) to guide the coordinated development of drainage facilities which thus affected the department’s ability to plan the provision of flood control structures in a holistic manner,” part of the report said.

Also, the performance audit report revealed that each year, from 2015 to 2019, HSD significantly fell short of implementing its target of drainage facilities needed to mitigate flooding nationwide.

According to the report “over the audit period, 12.2km (i.e., 11%) of the targeted 110km of drains was constructed and none of the retention ponds targeted for 18 drainage basins had been done.”

Delayed works

The report stated that some construction of drainage systems was unnecessarily delayed due to the late payment of contractors.

“We also noted that HSD ensured contractors were paid for only valid works done and the final costs of projects were within their respective contract sums.

“However, construction of 20 (i.e., 74%) of our 27 sampled projects delayed partly because of delayed payments to contractors which made them suspend works on the projects,” the auditor-general said.

Lack of maintenance

The auditor-general in his remarks said the works and housing ministry and its departments responsible for drainage systems failed to institute maintenance mechanisms; resulting in choked drainage.

“The HSD and the MWH did not maintain completed and existing drains because maintenance was not prioritised and therefore not included in annual activity plans and budgets to enable implementation.

“The unmaintained drains had weeds, silts and debris that impeded the smooth flow of water and reduced the effectiveness of existing drains to mitigate flooding. The HSD’s implemented measures have largely not been effective in controlling and mitigating flooding in the country,” he said.

Accra floods

Meanwhile, over the weekend, parts of the capital, Accra got flooded making it difficult for motorists to access some principal streets after over 12 hours of downpour from Saturday to Sunday.

The situation resulted in heavy gridlock in most parts of the capital Saturday evening leaving commuters stranded at lorry parks and bus stops.

Nicholas Brown

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Nicholas Brown

I am a multi-media journo with Asaase Radio. I tell stories that shape the difficulties of life. Let's talk about anything acting, stage direction and making an impact.

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