The government has released GH¢800 million to pay contractors working on the country’s roads.
Mr Kwesi Amoako-Atta announced this when he inaugurated the Road Fund Board yesterday in Accra.
According to him, the contractors would from next week Monday, begin receiving their cheques when the necessary documentations have been completed.
The minister explained that the government had for the past one-and-a-half months been settling its indebtedness to contractors, and expressed optimism that the contractors themselves would in the next few months appreciate efforts made to settle the payment, as substantial amount had already been paid to some of them.
Mr Amoako-Atta urged the Road Fund Board to prepare the payment schedule latest Monday to relieve the burden on the shoulders of the government.
On the delayed payment, the minister indicated that most road projects were paid for by the government of Ghana and the Road Fund, but unfortunately the previous administration in 2016 used the fund as collateral and borrowed GH¢1.3 billion from UBA.
The situation left the fund on its knees as the interest on the facility kept on increasing until the previous board together with other stakeholders took a bold decision and approached three banks to pre-finance the debt adding that “they were fortunate to be given a 12- months moratorium which helped the fund to begin making payments regarding its debts.”
He urged the Board to be creative and innovative in order to generate enough revenue to meet the payment schedule of the country’s hardworking contractors.
Mr Amoako-Atta charged the board to be mindful of the task ahead of them and put in their expertise, skills and knowledge at the disposal of the fund to meet their financial obligations.
He commended the Controller and Accountant General’s Department, the Ministry of Finance and Government for ensuring that GH¢70.7 million was paid monthly into the account of the Road Fund out of which GH¢112million would be paid to the banks to settle its indebtedness quarterly.
The Board Chair, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, pledged the members’ resolve to work as a team, for the benefit of the country.
He also promised to effectively play their roles to end “the slaughter on the roads” by ensuring that the quality of the road, highways and bridges improved remarkably, adding that “The task ahead involves prudent management of proceeds and ensuring executed jobs are of the highest quality and standards.”
Other members of the Board are Godfred Boateng, Mrs Azara Abukari-Haroum, Mr Prince Benjamin Aboagye, Mr Kwasi Kwaning Bosompem, Ms Yvonne Quansah and Mr Anthony Selorm Dzadzra.
The rest are Mr Frank Raji; Nana Osei Bonsu; John Ashford Afful Jnr; Lemuel Quashie Martey; Alhaji Abdullai Abubakari Yakubu and John Kwesi Danso.
BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA-AKPALU