The Minister of Roads and Highways, Alhaji Amin Sulemani, says the ministry is in consultation with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to settle the arrears owed road contractors.
He has, therefore, appealed to contractors to bear with the government, indicating, “The ministry is working hard towards paying contractors the backlog of arrears.”
The ministry currently owes road contractors about GH˘400 million for work done since last year.
Out of the amount, the Ghana Road Fund Secretariat (GRFS) owes them about GH˘190 million, while the Consolidated Fund owes GH˘209 million.
Apart from its indebtedness to road contractors, the GRFS is also servicing a Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) loan of GH˘194 million, which puts an additional burden on the fund.
All the three agencies under the Ministry of Roads and Highways — the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA), the Department of Urban Roads (DUR) and the Department of Feeder Roads (DFR) — are over-committed to various sums of arrears to be paid to road contractors.
Agitation to embark on a demonstration by the membership of the two road contractors associations — the Association of Road Contractors, Ghana (ASROC) and the Progressive Road Construction Association (PRCA), both with membership of about 900 — was deepening, the Chairman of ASROC, Mr Ebo Newton, told the Daily Graphic.
In a unanimous decision, the members of the two bodies, therefore, threatened to go on a demonstration to press home their demand for the immediate payment of their money.
Mr Newton said most contractors were frustrated, as they were currently being chased by banks and financiers to settle the loans they took to undertake government projects.
According to him, the last payment the contractors received about two weeks ago was to settle arrears for work done for the DFR from January to March last year.
Most contractors, he stated, had abandoned their sites because they were frustrated by the non-payment for their work.
He indicated that although he did not think that the demonstration was the answer, there was pressure on the leadership to back the action of its members, who now thought the leadership was not doing enough to help them.
Mr Newton stated that he would not be surprised to wake up one morning to see that all access roads had been blocked with the equipment of the about 500 members of the association who operated nation-wide.
“What is frustrating the membership now is that GH˘63 million meant for the Road Fund account is yet to be paid into it in order for us to be paid,” he alleged.
Source: Daily Graphic
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