From Alfred Kwesi Adams, Takoradi .
“There were so many constructions going on across the nation, with no contracts entered into. Was it for political expedience or any other reason, I can’t tell. I can’t fathom why some of us [politicians] can’t subject these processes to procurement. Of course, there are others that are emergent, and could be allowed.”
These were the words of the Minister for Road and Highways, Kwesi Amoako Atta, when he addressed the Wassa Fiase Traditional Council at Tarkwa in the Western Region, on Wednesday, this week, as part of his tour of the region.
The Minister told the bemused chiefs that the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), whilst in government, collateralised Ghana’s Road Fund to secure credit facility from a local bank he did not name. This, he told the chiefs, led to a freeze on the fund by the said local bank, thereby halting all payments to contractors in the country.
To him, the frustrations being experienced by contractors working on the Tarkwa-Akyempim road, Asabea Construction and Engineering Limited, amongst others, over the non-payment of work done, were as a result of the previous government’s decision to collaterise the Road Fund.
The Minister further told the chiefs that most of the contractors were lured by the NDC government to start the construction of some of the roads from their own resources, without any contract with the government.
“There were so many constructions going on across the nation, with no contracts entered into. Was it for political expedience or any other reason, I can’t tell, I can’t fathom why some of us [politicians] can’t subject these process to procurement. Of course there are others that are emergent, and could be allowed,” he elaborated.
He continued that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government inherited a total debt of about GH¢20 billion in the road sector alone, adding: “When we came into power, the debt we inherited amounts to billions of cedis. When you add up the total commitment and cost of projects completed, it’s almost about 20 billion Ghana Cedis.”
For this reason, Mr. Amoako Atta said the NPP government had to regularise certain contracts on road construction to allow them to proceed with work, mentioning that Asabea Construction was no exception to that process. “He has been on this project for years. Just recently, through this government that we regularised and awarded a contract to work on this road. Just this April,” he added.
He hinted that the payments of contractors working on government road projects would be processed next week, to enable them complete any suspended work.
“Next week we are making payment under [the] Road Fund. Asabea Construction will be included. All the necessary documents would be brought to my desk for approval. For the good works he is doing, I have directed his company to be included in the list for next payment,” he told the chiefs.