The National Executive Council (NEC) of Association of Road Contractors (ASROC) in Ghana have announced plan arrange a crunch meeting with President Nana Addo Dankwa Addo-Addo in the coming days to discuss current challenging happenings in the local road construction sector in the country.
The decision by ASROC to have a meeting with President Akufo-Addo, this reporter was reliably informed on Wednesday July 14, 2021, was taken by the NEC of ASROC at its current emergency meeting held in its Ashanti Regional Secretariat in Kumasi.
The impending meeting, according to the document sighted by this reporter and signed by National Chairman of ASROC, Mr Oscar Akwasi Frimpong, would afford opportunity of the NEC of the Association to discuss with the President the current state of affairs of local road contructors and association in general.
The meeting would also serves as a viable platform to discuss the teething problems currently facing the local road contractors which has equally made some of the local road contractors died in the country.
The NEC of local road contractors, would further use the meeting to appeal to President Akufo-Addo for his timely intervention for redress of the on-going happenings within the road sector in connection of inability of the government to GH¢3.69 billion debt owned the local road contructors in the country.
The government of Ghana is still highly indebted to road contractors who are yet to be paid funds running into the tune of about GH¢ 3.69 Billion
The members of Association has still on government’s neck to impress upon it to settle the debts owed members.
A report by the parliamentary committee on roads and transport has shown that the government still owes road contractors more than GH¢ 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.
In an interview with this reporter, the National Vice Chairman of the Association, Mr Stephen Kwaku Attatsi stated that government of President Akufo-Addo is dealing with them unfairly in regard to its delay to pay their money for their work done.
According to him, the delay of the government to pay the monies to the local road contructors has leading to untimely deaths of a lot of the local road contractors.
He lamented that most of “our equipment is down due to lack money to buy new ones.saying that we have
doubt if any action we take against the government as a association will pressurise it.”
For their part some of of the leading members of the Association who spoke to this reporter indicated that the government has paid them about 40% of the debt owed them, stressing that “the facts on the ground does not (SIC) support the assertions of the Honourable minister’s assertions.”
“As at October 2019, contractors were owed approximately GH¢2.6 billion by the Road Fund and GH¢1.6 billion on Government of Ghana projects not to mention the indebtedness of Government at the COCOBOD,” they noted
“Government, through the ministry notified us of an arrangement for a consortium Banks led by Fidelity Bank to advance GH¢2.2 billion to the industry with instructions to the Ghana Road Fund to redeem fully outstanding payments in the range of GH¢1 and GH¢500.
“Further instructions were issued for the Ghana Road Fund to redeem 40% of all amounts above 500. As at December 2019, some contractors had been paid these amounts…ASROC finds it intriguing how payment of 40% indebtedness can be construed to mean full payment,” they said.
The members of ASROC, who have expressed disquiet over the government’s indebtedness and the lack of will to pay the debts, have urged the Minister of Roads and Highways to come out to correct the impression.
By Freeman Awlesu