Building contractors bemoan increasing costs of materials … set to launch ‘Build Right’ campaign

The President of the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana (ABCECG), Mr Prosper Ledi, has said the association will soon launch a ‘Build Right’ campaign’ to sensitise its members and key stakeholders on the need to ensure that all projects undertaken meet all requirements including environmental sustainability.

Mr Ledi who has been reelected to lead the association for another 3-year term, said the campaign would be one of the key programmes for his second term.

Complaints about shoddy jobs within the construction sector are common with various reasons being assigned.

Speaking in an interview Mr Ledi, said building right was not solely the responsibility of the contractor but other key stakeholders including clients with government being the single largest client for many contractors.

 He explained that the campaign would be a three-pronged approach, comprising building the capacity and sensitising contractors; engaging government to find a sustainable way of awarding and honouring payments for contracts; and lastly mounting a campaign for a friendlier business environment.

Providing details, Mr Ledi explained that the campaign would include training contractors and sensitising them on the need to ensure quality delivery of their projects and also pay attention to sustainability elements in construction.

He said experts would be invited to build the capacity of contractors over a period of time.

 “Charity begins at home, so we’ll start with ourselves,” he emphasized.

The ABCECEG President also added that the campaign would include engaging the government to sanitise the award of contracts and prompt payment for projects executed.

He explained that the campaign would be fruitless if the government continued to delay in honouring payments.

He said as part of the campaign, the government would be engaged to develop a sustainable way of awarding and paying for executed contracts timeously.

“There are best practices even in other African countries that we can take and modify to suit our case in Ghana and end this canker once and for all,” he said.

Mr Ledi lamented that several contractors are in serious financial difficulties because they are owed lots of money by the government and urged the government to clear the arrears quickly, as they work out a more sustainable way of addressing the issue of delayed payments permanently.

The Chairman of the Finance Committee in Parliament, Mr Kweku Kwarteng, had on the floor of parliament reechoed complaints about hikes in the prices of construction related products and services, calling for an investigation to determine the cause. While supporting the call by Mr Kwarteng who is a former Deputy Finance Minister, Mr Ledi noted that the third leg of the Build Right campaign will be to push for policies that will make the business climate better.

Buttressing his point, Mr Ledi said hikes in prices of materials used in construction could drive some contractors and even clients to cut corners.

He said a competitive price for building materials was therefore essential for a successful Build Right campaign.

He said the association would work closely with the Private Enterprise Federation to lobby against policies that may lead to hikes in prices of goods.

BY KINGSLEY ASARE

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