The Minority in Parliament is urging the government to ensure the payment of arrears owed to road contractors.
This comes after, the Roads and Transport Committee of Parliament expressed worry over the Ministry of Roads’ high indebtedness of GH₵ 5.9 billion to contractors at the Ghana Road Fund Secretariat.
It follows the approval of an amount of over GH₵ 5, 295,359,626 for the services of the Ministry of Roads and Highways for the year 2023.
“Let us not take this for granted. If a road contract is awarded, a contractor is assigned and given a certain amount of work. If for two to three years you don’t pay the contractor, the road deteriorates. That occasions cost to the State. My observation is that many of these contractors borrowed from the financial institutions that have collapsed; payment didn’t go to the contractors but to the banks.”
Contractors had in the past complained that their businesses were grinding to a halt due to the government’s indebtedness to them.
Ghanaians over the last few months have complained bitterly over the deteriorating nature of most roads in the country and some road projects which have been abandoned.
Despite some road projects progressing smoothly, several other roads have not received any facelift in the last few years, despite the government declaring 2021 as the year of roads.
As of 2020, the Chamber said the government owed contractors about $1.8 billion – the amount is a result of delayed payment and accumulation of interest on locked-up certificates.
Recently, a group – Joint Contractors Association threatened legal action against the government should it refuse to pay monies owed its members for works they have executed successfully.
President of the Ghana Road Contractors Association of Ghana, John Afful, also stressed that most road projects in the country have stalled due to the non-payment of funds for already executed projects.
He said the failure of the Ministry of Roads and Highways to pay contractors has saddled them with huge debts.
“Most road projects have stalled, and the contractors are not on-site, mainly because of non-payment of previous work done. If you go to the Road Fund of the Ministry of Roads and Highways, you will notice that there are huge arrears not paid to the contractors from as far back as 2016″.