“I am very horrified and feel ashamed as a Regional Minister that in this time and age, this is a Ministries building occupied by Government workers serving the nation.
It is a disgrace, really a disgrace, the structure is indeed not fit for that purpose and also not human friendly.”
The Minister on Wednesday visited the five-storey building housing some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to have first-hand information on the condition of the structure at the instance of the “Heads of Department Forum”, comprising the regional heads of the MDAs.
The storey building, with three entry points, which was built during General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong’s era in 1972 is where most of the government business in the region is conducted but its deplorable condition is putting the life of workers in danger.
The roof leaks badly allowing water to sift through the building down the walls and stairways when it rains, with rusted iron rods and other metal exposed, broken concretes hang l around, whilst deep cracks had developed on all the three wings.
To worsen the plight of workers, the utility companies have withdrawn their services as Government owes huge sums of electricity and water bills with the ECG installing only three prepaid meters for the more than 13 MDAs which are largely starved of funds.
The main switch at the side of the building has rusted and some portions fallen, exposing the wires.
Last month fire nearly broke out from the broken-down elevator on two occasions but for the timely intervention of the ISD technical staff and the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS).
The exterior appearance of the building indicates that it has not seen any major renovation since its construction.
The more than 300 people working in the block together with visitors who find themselves in the building on a daily basis to transact business are exposed to danger.
Interacting, during workers durbar, with Heads of Department and staff after his inspection of the building, the Minister described the block as “scary” and wondered how staff are able to gather courage to work in the building.
“The structure is not habitable and is unfit for the 21st century”, he said expressed the need for a decision to either renovate it immediately or demolish it to prevent any calamity in future.
For immediate redress, Mr Ricketts-Hagan said he had instructed the Regional Engineer of the Public Works Department (PWD) and the Architectural and Engineering Services Limited (AESL) to do an evaluation and engineering assessment.
He said the report from the PWD and AESL would inform the decision on whether the structure should be rehabilitated or pulled down to pave the way for a new one to be built.
The Minister, assured the workers that all necessary documentations would be made within a month and contract awarded for commencement of work by January next year.
He expressed worry about the lack of maintenance culture in the country adding that a 45-year-old Ministries building looks older than the more than 300 year old castle”.
The Regional Engineer of PWD, Mr Ofori Anor said it would cost close to GH?1.4 million to re-wire the whole building, aside the cost of the main renovation works.
Recently, the GNFS and the ECG warned that the place had become highly susceptible to fire outbreak as the wiring done more than 40 years ago with 2.5ml wires are enduring too much pressure.
The department and agencies in the block include the Ghana News Agency, the Controller and Accountant General Department, Ghana Education Service and the Ghana Immigration Service.
Others are the Information service, Audit Service, Quality Control Board, National Board for Small Scale Industry, Social Welfare, Community Development and Non- Formal Education Division.
By Afedzi Abdullah, GNA