Contractors have no excuse to stop work on our roads – Minister

The Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah has chastised contractors who abandoned work on projects awarded to them because their interim certificates have not been paid.

“We have to look at that provision of our contract and procurement where we give a whole contract to a contractor and when the contractor raises just a small interim certificate and is not being paid, he uses that as a license to stop work”, he stated. 

Mr Darko-Mensah said this when the Minister for Roads and Highway, Mr Kwasi Amoako-Attah paid a courtesy call on him as part of his working visit to the Western Region on Wednesday. 

According to the Regional Minister, contractors had no reason to stop work on a project that ought to benefit the people simply because their interim certificates had not been paid by the government.

Rather, he said contractors could charge government for interest on delayed payment which was an acceptable practice in the contract and procurement sphere.

“Why don’t they do their work and go for interest on delayed payment but delay the work that the people should benefit from. I disagree with that position of the contractors”, he added.

Mr Amoako-Attah paid a working visit to the construction site of the first three-tier interchange in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis and expressed satisfaction about the quality and progress of work done.

In July last year, Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia cut the sod for the construction of the first three-tier interchange in Takoradi at the Kwame Nkrumah Roundabout.

The PTC interchange is an intersection of five roads; Agona-Nkwanta, Sekondi Bypass, Cape Coast, Liberation, and Axim roads.

It is being constructed by Sino Hydro Corporation Limited and is scheduled to be completed by July 2023.

Work on the project is about 20 per cent complete and is expected to be completed ahead of schedule.

The roads minister said the government would do its part to ensure that the project was completed as scheduled saying, “there is secured funding, so I do not see anything that will hinder the progress of this project”.

He encouraged the contractors to combine night work to speed up the work to ensure that it was completed ahead of time.

Mr Joshua Allottey, Resident Engineer at the site was optimistic that the project would be completed ahead of time considering the work done but said quality would not be compromised.

The minister also visited other road projects in the Metropolis, including the Egyam Roads, Paa Grant Roundabout to Effia Nkwanta Hospital, Adiembra Road – Second, Paa Grant Roundabout – Harbour Roundabout.

He also inspected works on the Apowa-Mpohor-Benso Road which was about 35 per cent complete.

Mr Amoako-Atta described the Western Region as a very important region providing natural resources to the benefit of the country. 

To that end, he said the government was determined to develop the road network of the region to support a lot of its economic activities.

The region currently has a road network of about 5,580 kilometers of roads. 

The Roads Minister indicated that over 126 road projects totaling 1,800 kilometers of roads were ongoing in the region.

According to him, the ongoing road construction constituted about 35 per cent of the road network in the region, expressing the resolve of the government to expand it further.

“We are tackling the road infrastructure in the Western Region with all seriousness. This Region is home to minerals, oil production, timber, foodstuffs, and many other natural resources.

It is a very important region”, he said and noted the Agona Nkwanta-Tarkwa stretch road which measured about 66 kilometers was also under construction and expected to be completed in 2024.

The minister said funding had been secured for the project and thus it would be completed as scheduled while stressing the economic importance of that stretch of the road.

He also spoke about the 33-kilometer Takoradi-Agona Nkwanta road which he said would soon be awarded on contract to complement the Agona Nkwanta-Tarkwa road. -GNA

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