The Association of Road Contractors Ghana has bemoaned government’s failure to pay its members debts owed them.
A report by the parliamentary committee on roads and transport has shown that the government still owes road contractors more than GHC 3.69 billion for projects financed from the consolidated and roads fund.
Although the government has paid over 2.2 billion of the funds in arrears, the delay in settling the outstanding debt is affecting the construction industry.
Association, Daniel Agro intimated that government is dealing with them unfairly.
“If banks are collapsing because of monies we owe them, what about those of us who owe the monies. A lot of us have died, and most of our equipment is down. I doubt if any action we take against them as a group will pressurise them,” he fumed.
Road contracts worth Gh¢6.5bn awarded since 2017 – Amoako Atta
Despite these concerns by the association, Minister for Roads and Highways, Kwesi Amoako Atta, in 2018 told Parliament that the Akufo-Addo administration has, since January 2017, awarded road contracts amounting to 6.5 billion Ghana cedis.
This sum covered 258 roads and 20 bridge projects, totalling a little over 3,000 kilometres.
The sector minister indicated that the Ghana Highway Authority, the Department for Feeder Roads and the Department of Urban Roads have been responsible for implementing the projects.
“The ministries through its agencies have awarded 258 different road projects across the nation. This is a little over 3000km and 20 different bridges at an estimated contract cost of Ghc6.5 billion.”
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, also announced in the 2019 budget statement that the government will be investing massively in road, railways and air transport, from a variety of funding sources.
As it is often done in many budget presentations, the Minister listed a number of roads to be constructed in almost all ten regions of the country.
As usual, many roads that have never been completed despite receiving mention in previous budget presentations were mentioned again.
This pledge came at a time when many road users across the country, have been expressing rage at the government over the state of their roads.
“Mr. Speaker, infrastructure, both hard and soft, is the backbone of economic development and growth, as well as a source of jobs and wealth for a majority of people. In a rapidly changing global marketplace, traditional infrastructure like electricity and power, transport and logistics, water and sanitation, roads, highways, and railways have combined with new, mostly soft infrastructure like digitization of government services to enable emerging economies like ours to leapfrog the development path to prosperity. Mr. Speaker, this Government, is committed to embarking on an integrated infrastructural development programme across the country that will move goods, food items and people from one location to another that will create jobs and prosperity and ensure value for money for Ghana as well as position Ghana as the transportation, energy and logistics hub in the region.”