Players in the engineering and construction industry who sign certificate for payment of contracts that fall short of the required standards, should be prosecuted, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Chamber of telecommunications, Mr Kenneth Ashigbey has suggested.
He stated that, as engineers and planners, the decision rest on them not to sign certain certificates if per their judgement, the project in question did not meet the required standard.
Mr Ashigbey was speaking at a workshop on Right of Way (RoW) for stakeholders involved in the use of reserved space for the laying of cables for utility providers in the country.
He said the prosecution of player in the industry and others was necessary for refusing to act in a professional manner, explaining that they must assert their authority in decision making.
According to him, professional bodies including engineers were failing the country, saying, “We need to correct the wrongs in society.”
The workshop was attended by stakeholders from the road agencies, road contractors, utility service providers, local government, regulators and others who work within the reservations or play critical roles in its management.
It focused on rallying participants towards building an action plan that would promote effective collaboration and better coordination within the right of way, while preserving each other’s infrastructure.
Additionally, it sought to find ways in addressing the challenges of fibre cuts and damage to communications infrastructure.
Mr Ashigbey noted that, society expected professionals to bring their knowledge acquired from the schools to bear in the development of the country.
He claimed that professionals in the country were allowing politicians to have their way as they refused to insist on the right thing to be done.
Touching on fibre cuts and other challenges facing telecommunication companies, he said the situation of fibre cuts was alarming and called for the adoption of drastic measures to address it.
Operator data gathered by the Chamber, Mr Ashigbey said, revealed that, there had been over 2000 fibre cuts within the last six months of the year 2019.
“These cuts which were caused mainly by private developers, road contractors, unknown criminals and other utility providers cost the industry over GH₵30 million in direct repairs only,” he said.
He indicated that, the Central Region has recorded about 200 cuts out of the over 2000 fibre cuts this year.
“The industry also recorded over 150,000 litres of diesel, and 240 batteries stolen from the cell sites with a whooping 18 million affected subscribers and businesses within the value chain,” he indicated.
He said: “We cannot continue to accept this problem as the norm, therefore we are here today to work with the stakeholders to agree a better way of doing things to reduce drastically the impact of these cuts, thefts and damage to our infrastructure.”
The Regional Minister, Kwamena Duncan, in his remarks, called for coordination and collaboration among utility providers and road sector agencies in excavation for road construction as well as the laying of underground cables.
He advocated that the nation could adopt a standard to bring all on board in the award of procurement, saying, “The inspection of sites before construction starts should include utility providers and road agencies”.
Mr Duncan alluded to the fact that it was likely that utility providers would pass on the cost of repair of fibre cuts to the consumer and called for a reduction in the rate of fibre cuts in the various districts in the country.
FROM DAVID O. YARBOI-TETTEH, CAPE COAST