Contractors Issue 6-days Ultimatum To Government

Government will have to pay the arrears of contractors who were engaged under the trees programme two years ago within the next six days or face legal action. A group of contractors calling itself the Association of Furniture Suppliers of Brong Ahafo Region wants the government to immediately initiate steps to fully pay their arrears by September 30. Addressing the media in Sunyani on Tuesday, the affected contractors, numbering about 50, expressed their disgust about government�s insensitivity towards them. They noted that they contracted huge bank loans to pre-finance the contracts, stressing that their bankers are breathing down their necks to retrieve the loans which have accrued colossal interest. Secretary and spokesperson for the association, Sani Abdul-Aziz, said the association would also petition President Mahama to urgently intervene in the matter to prevent another judgment debt. �As small-scale businesses, two years� indebtedness has brought a lot of untold hardship on us in terms of accruing bank interest rate. �The inaction on the part of the Brong Ahafo Regional Coordinating Council has continued for too long. We know other avenues as contractors to seek redress that is why we are once again appealing to you to act before 30th September, 2013 or we resort to court to seek legal redress,� they warned. According to them, government owes them over GH�4million under the contract. The irate contractors explained that the Ministry of Education, through the Regional Coordinating Council and the Architectural and Engineering Service Limited (AESL), contracted their firms to supply furniture to various schools in the region under the GETFund projects between 2011 and 2012. According to them, the furniture were duly supplied to the schools and the certificates raised on some of them and sent to the GETFund through the Ministry of Education while others were blocked at the Ministry of Education. They said efforts to get their monies from the GETFund and the Ministry of Finance had been unsuccessful. �The Administrator of GETFund, Mr. Sam Gabba has consistently maintained that his institution is not aware of the contracts. Major (Rtd) Tara, one-time Chief Director of Ministry of Education) and Mr. Lee Ocran, then Minister of Education have all maintained that they were not privy to these contracts even though GETFund, Ministry of Education, among others, were to have been copied in the contract letters,� they lamented. The GETFund Administrator said that despite the infractions he was prepared to pay on condition that the then Regional Minister, Kwadwo Nyamekye Marfo or his deputy (now Ashanti Regional Minister) Eric Opoku meet him to clarify some aspects of the contracts, they noted. However, the contractors said the then regional minister and his deputy, who actually signed the contracts, had failed to take steps to meet the GETFund Administrator to address the issue. The aggrieved contractors therefore appealed to the current Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo and his Deputy, Justice Samuel Adjei to collaborate with the Regional Consultant of the AESL to take the necessary steps to meet the authorities to retrieve their monies. Similar contracts had been awarded to some contractors in Accra to supply furniture to schools in Brong Ahafo this year, but the government has released funds to pay the Accra-based contractors, they stated.