Contractor on Kumasi Sofoline Interchange demands payment

The construction firm working on the Sofoline Interchange project in Kumasi, has threatened to abandon the project, by August, unless the government settles its indebtedness to the company.

The project being executed by the Department of Urban Road under the Ministry of Roads and Highways, is the biggest interchange in West Africa and when completed, it would ease the road traffic congestion in Kumasi, and enhance transportation in  the Ashanti region at large.

Eric Yang, the project manager of the China Geo Engineering Corporation, who issued the threat here on Tuesday when some selected journalists visited the project site, said government owed the company about $20 million.

The government, he said, had paid $90 million out of the $110 million of the work his outfit had executed.

The tour, organised by the Chinese Embassy in Accra, for journalists to visit some Chinese investments in the country, formed part of activities marking the 55th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and Ghana.

“We are doing all that we can to avert boycotting the project, but if the government does not make efforts to pay us in the next couple of months, we have no option than to stop the project,” he said.

Mr. Yang said the company was facing financial difficulty in procuring materials such as bitumen, stones, iron rods to complete the project.

He also said the company was facing difficulty in accessing loans from banks to complete the project.

“Since 2011, my outfit has suspended major works on the project due to the government’s inability to pay us for the work we have done this year,” he said.

The Sofoline Interchange project which started in 2007, should have been completed in 2010, but had delayed for more than five years due to the variation on the design and delay by the government to pay the contractors.

The $150-million project being financed by the government of Ghana, involves works such as the construction of the two interchanges at Sofoline and Komfo Anokye Hospital, reconstruction of an 11-kilometre six-lane dual carriageway and five under- passes for the pedestrians.

At the moment, Mr Yang said 75 per cent of the work had been completed and work on the project was continuing, in the midst of the financial challenges.

He said the Sofoline Interchanged had been completed and 6.5 of the 11-kilometre dual carriage on the Sunyani road, as well as pedestrian underpasses, had been completed.

Mr Yang said the company was currently doing the landscaping at the Sofoline interchange, and was yet to begin work on the interchange at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

He said if the Komfo Anokye interchange and the dual carriageway on the Sunyani road were not completed, it would defeat the projects purpose of easing traffic in Kumasi.

Currently, the project manager  said, there was huge traffic congestion at the Komfo Anokye and Abuakwa ends of the Sunyani road because the three-lane carriageway from the Sofoline interchange section of the road ending with two dual carriage on both sides were creating congestion on the road.

Asked if the project could be completed by the end of the year, Mr Yang said it would depend on how government paid his outfit to execute the project.

The Resident Engineer, Mr Ato Badu-Prah, appealed to the government to settle its indebtedness to the company and also to compensate the individuals whose property had been affected by the project so that the company could expedite work on the project.

He said the contractor was working under strenuous financial difficulties to complete the project.

From Kingsley Asare, Kumasi

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