Over GH¢5bn paid to road contractors since 2017 – Minister

Government has so far paid over GH¢5billion as outstanding arrears to road contractors since 2017, Mr Kwasi Amoako-Atta, the Minister of Roads and Highways, announced this in Accra, on Wednesday.

Government made the payment through the Consolidated Fund and the Road Fund to contractors with Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs) at the cut-off date of August 2019.

Government paid 100 percent of contractors it owed up to GH¢5m comprising 168 contractors, while 210 contractors it owed above five million Ghana cedis received 40 percent of the amount owed.

In addition, government paid GH¢482million to single-man contractors totalling 4,212 it owed GH¢500,000 – who mostly de-silted drains and cut vegetation along the roads.

Also, contractors that government owed GH¢10,000 and above – comprising 43 contractors – had been paid GH¢584million being 100 percent payment, while those government owed between GH¢500,000 to GH¢10million had received GH¢138.1million.

Mr. Amoako-Atta made this known at the road sector retreat in Accra, and said government sees infrastructure development as the pivot around which the country’s socio-economic development revolved.

Currently, government needs about GH¢30.5billion to pay the cost of uncompleted roads and other commitment made under the Road Infrastructure Development programme.

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Meanwhile, government has also selected three critical roads in each of the 16 regions for construction this year.

The Roads Minister said government is paying greater attention to road infrastructure development, and therefore declared 2020 as the ‘Year of Roads’ since 98 percent of transportation for commuters and goods takes place on road networks.

The retreat brought together key stakeholders in the road sector: including the Ghana Chamber of Construction, Association of Road Contractors, Directors at the sector Ministry, and all the 16 Regional Ministers.

They brainstormed on the current conditions of road infrastructure in the country and came out with a blueprint on strategies and realistic plans to achieve government’s road infrastructure objectives.

Of the 78,000 kilometres of the country’s total road network, only 23 percent has been paved; with 39 percent considered good, 32 percent fair and 29 percent poor.

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the event’s Special Guest, in a keynote address announced that the road from the Black Star Square to Nungua, otherwise known as the Beach Road, will commence in the next four weeks.

He noted that road infrastructure development is one of the major concerns for Ghanaians, as revealed in the Afrobarometre survey, and assured of government’s unflinching commitment to meeting needs and aspirations of the citizenry.

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It is on that score, he said, the government of Ghana signed a Bauxite Master Agreement Plan with the Sino Hydro Group of China toward development of the country’s infrastructure.

He said the two-billion-dollar expected from the bauxite barter arrangement will be paid with funds from refined bauxite, and not necessarily allowing the Chinese to mine bauxite directly from the forest.

Vice President Bawumia entreated engineers and supervisors to ensure effective monitoring of all the road contractors undertaking various road projects across the country, in order to deliver quality roads and ensure value for money.

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