The government is to release $1 billion to the Ministry of Roads and Highways to settle outstanding debts to road contractors and to complete and maintain road networks in the country.
This is expected to settle road contractors who have already invested, and to ensure the completion of roads currently under construction.
The sector Minister, Mr Kwasi Amoako-Attah, who announced this, said the move was to improve upon the road system to drive the socio-economic development agenda of the government.
Mr Kwesi Amoako-Attah said since assuming office the government had already paid $4 billion in outstanding debts to contractors working on various road projects in the country.
He was speaking at a three-day strategic management workshop organised by the ministry and christened “Ghana Beyond Aid — Strategies for Sustainable Investment and Road Asset Preservation” at Ejisu in the Ashanti Region.
He said it was the government’s desire to eliminate the occurrence of abandoned road projects usually occasioned by non-payment of funds to contractors.
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“The ministry will be taking decisions proactively to ensure projects are awarded to people who have the needed expertise and competence in order to avoid some of the unnecessary delays in project execution,” he emphasised.
Toll booth revenue
He said the ministry was taking measures to block all avenues of revenue leakages especially from the various toll booths to achieve the needed revenue targets of the ministry.
Mr Amoako-Attah said the ministry had received an approval from the Public Procurement Authority to undertake a private management of 20 high revenue-earning toll stations in the country to provide services which included rehabilitation and maintenance of those stations and the provision of a well-tested electronic system to check leakages at the toll booths.
He said the ministry had taken over all cocoa roads that were started but halted midway, and assured the contractors that all outstanding debts would be settled.
The Minister cautioned regional directors and departmental heads in the ministry to live above reproach and support the government’s effort in improving the road sector, and warned that “anybody who tries to sabotage the progress of the ministry and government will be dealt with accordingly.”
He challenged participants at the workshop to dispassionately develop sustainable solutions for the preservation of road assets and other issues confronting the sector.
The Senior Minster, Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo, urged the ministry to consider deepening its collaboration with academic institutions such as the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, technical universities and research institutions to help develop cost-effective solutions to the challenges facing the road sector.
In a speech read on his behalf, he encouraged the ministry to adopt the use of construction materials that had stable and predictable prices, were durable and were generally available for cost-effective roads that required less rehabilitation and repairs.