Local contractors have called on the government to settle debts owed them for projects executed and certified, in two weeks’ time.
The Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana and the Association of Conscientious Public Sector Contractors said they believed that the government had taken them for granted because it had not paid them, although there was evidence that funds were available for the payment of the debts.
At a press conference in Accra last Tuesday, the associations claimed that in November 2018, the government secured a loan of $500m (GH¢2.5billion), to pay off GETFund debts, among other debts and said only a handful of contractors were paid.”
The spokesperson for the associations, Mr Richard Nyarko, indicated that following the news about the loan and its purpose, their creditors had intensified demands on them to pay back their debts, adding, “and are giving us no respite.”
He served notice that if the government did not settle the debts it owned contractors by June 26, 2019, “we will lock up the school facilities built with the sweat of our toil, for which some of our members’ lives have been cut short. In addition, we will hit all the regional capitals with earth-shaking demonstrations to let the world know our precarious lot.”
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The associations were, however, unable to tell how much the government owed their members but said by the government’s own data, they were owed debts on 766 projects.
“We are estimating that even if it owed GH¢1 million per project, that would be GH¢766 million. So if you have secured a loan of GH¢2.5 billion to pay GH¢766 million, there should still be plenty of money left after paying us,” Mr Nyarko who is also the spokesperson of the Concientious Public Sector Contractors, said in an interview with the Daily Graphic after the press conference.
The Vice-President of the Progressive Road Contractors, Mr Hammond Larbie, for his part, pointed out that contractors charged interest on completed works for which payment was delayed and cautioned that if the government did not settle the debts, interest would accrue on them and that was tantamount to causing financial loss to the state.
He said, “since 2012, there are certificates that have not been paid.”
In February, the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana called on the government to honour its campaign promise pertaining to the payment of debts owned Ghanaian contractors.
On May 8, 2019, the Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwesi Amoako-Atta, at a workshop organised by the ministry at Ejisu in the Ashanti Region, said the President had directed it to pay $1billion to contractors working on road projects.