Government to pay Ghs 800 million debt owed road contractors
Government is said to have set aside some Ghs 800 million as payment for road contracts executed by road contractors across the country.
The said amount made available by the government, follows agitations by some contractors over the delayed payment for projects completed, in some cases as far back as 2016 with some threatening legal action against the government in a bid to get their monies.
Making the disclosure at the inauguration of the 14-member Road Fund Board, the Minister for Road and Highways, Kwesi Amoako-Atta, indicated that government is committed to paying all outstanding debts owed road contractors.
“I am happy to announce to you that government has for almost one and half months now started robustly and in earnest payment to contractors, and you would know that payments come from two main areas. Either Government of Ghana which is from the ministry of finance and then the road fund and substantial payments have already been made to contractors around the country and the records are there even as I inaugurate this board on behalf of his excellency the president,” he stated.
“The Ministry of Finance is beginning to release GHS800 million to pay contractors across the country and the documentation to that effect is ready and is being sent to the Ministry of Finance and the Finance Minister has made that money available,” he added.
Delivering his acceptance speech, the newly sworn-in Chairman of the Road Fund Board and Member of the Parliament for the Effutu constituency, Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, expressed the board’s commitment to ensuring that roads in the country see a major facelift.
“Let me state that we wholeheartedly accept the appointment without any reservation. As a team, we will work together to execute the mandate of the fund for the benefit of the good people of Ghana. Indeed, the thrust of our gathering here today is effectively statutory in character, i.e. the swearing-in of the new Road Fund Management board.”
“In my view, however, the reason we are here is more than just statutory, in fact, many more Ghanaians are likely to die out of road accidents due in part to driver indiscipline and the poor quality of most of our roads this carnage I believe must end. As a board, we can play our role towards ending the slaughter on our roads by working diligently to ensure that the quality of our roads, highways, and bridges improves remarkably. Accordingly, the task ahead of us involves prudent management of the proceeds coming to the fund and ensuring that the quality of our roads, highways, and bridges provide the highest level of quality and user safety,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Chamber of Construction Industry has welcomed the formation of the Road Fund Board.
The chamber has been at the forefront of calls on government to constitute the board so its members who are in some cases owed since 2016 can be paid for projects executed.
Speaking on the formation of the Board, Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, Emmanuel Cherry, said, “It is something that we have craved for long, however, it is better late than never, so there is no need to cry over spilt milk. As we speak, all we need to do is to put our hands together and try as much as possible to receive the board that would be inaugurated and put in place.”
He also urged the board to work in earnest to ensure contractors are paid in the shortest possible time.
“I pity them a little because they have so much pressure that they need to speed up with so, it is welcoming news, and we thank the president for hearing our cry. We admonish the board that whenever it is being put together or inaugurated, they should try as much as possible to speed up the policies of the president and the ministry at large to make sure that we will be able to achieve the target that has been set before the ministry”.