GhCCI unhappy about govt’s inability to settle road contractors

The Ghana Chamber of Construction Industry (GhCCI) has expressed disappointment over government’s inability to follow the payment plan made between the Chamber and the Ministry of Finance on how to settle road contractors in the country.

Chief Executive Officer of GhCCI, Mr Emmanuel A. Cherry, explained that in November last year, the government agreed to commence payment of contractors whose certificate fell below GH₵1million before beginning the payment of those whose amount were above GH₵1 million.

However, government defaulted the payment without any explanation to the Chamber.

Mr Cherry expressed the concern yesterday at a consultative stakeholders’ forum in Accra.

He said government till date had not completed payment of contractors whose certificate fell below ₵1milllion, although as part of the agreement, payment should have been completed in February 2022.

The forum was to dialogue with stakeholders on how government would settle the amount it owed, saying none of the Ministries’ representatives invited to the function was present.

According to him, invitations were sent to the Ministries of Finance, Roads and Highways, Education, Sanitation, Local Government as well as Works and Housing.

Mr Cherry said the government after defaulting on the payment plan as agreed, had also not instituted any short or long term measures in settling the amount it owed contractors and consultants.

He noted that financial institutions considered the construction industry now as high risk industry and had shied away from doing business with it, a situation which had made it difficult for them to survive in business.

“The chamber has lost touch on how much government owes its members since the interest on the amount owed kept on accumulating and I believe the government even does not know the amount it owes contractors.

“As I speak now, if I should mention any figure I may be deceiving the public, since the interest alone is even more than the principal amount the government owe the contractors,” Mr Cherry said.

Senior Policy Advisor of GhCCI, Mr Kwadwo Osei-Asante, attributed the government’s inability to pay contractors to awards of contracts without the necessary payment method.

He explained that in the past the awards of contracts were properly planned, well-executed and timely paid and that the forum was meant to dialogue and address challenges affecting the industry.

Mr Osei-Asante said it was unfortunate that the various ministries and agencies invited to participate in the forum did not attend to help address the canker.

He said the Chamber would be meeting stakeholders next week to determine the way forward with regards to the payment of contractors.

BY BERNARD BENGHAN

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