The government has paid about GH¢2 billion to contractors to enable them to resume work on stalled road projects across the country, the Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwasi Amoako-Atta, has said.
According to him, most ongoing road projects had stalled due to the failure of the previous administration to pay contractors for work done between two to five years.
“A lot of road projects were suspended because between two to five years, contractors in this country were not paid for even genuine jobs done. But I am happy to announce that within a period of eight months, the government has paid contractors and disbursements for both Government of Ghana (GoG) and Road Fund projects are currently going on," he said.
Mr Amoako-Atta made this known during a tour of some major roads and highways in the Central Region last Thursday.
The minister was accompanied by a Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwabena Owusu-Aduomi, the Central Regional Director of Highways, Mr Samuel Akuaku, and other officials from the ministry.
They visited major highways at Kasoa, Bawjwiase, Swedru, Assin Fosu, Twifo Praso, Cape Coast, Elmina and the Assin South area.
Mr Amoako-Atta underscored the need to regularly maintain the roads so they could be in good condition at all times, adding that the government was working towards prompt payment of contractors.
He indicated that only 23 per cent of the 73.000 kilometres (km) of roads in the country were paved.with the rest covered with gravel or
He observed that only 39 per cent of the roads were considered good, 32 per cent, fair and 29 per cent, poor,saying the government would construct a number of trunk and feeder roads this year as they required urgent action.
According to the minister, roads which had been abandoned by the contractors for nonpayment of fees in the region would be completed.
In line with that, he said, the ministry would meet the contractors, review the contractors' Interim Payment certificates and ensure that they were paid in the next schedule of payments to be made under the Road Fund.
"This process will be done as soon as possible so that the contractors can complete their work before the rains start to avoid eroding the work that had already been done," he added.
Mr Amoako-Atta directed that the construction of 10 kilometres of inland roads in some areas in the Cape Coast metropolis, as well as the completion of five-kilometre inland roads in the Awutu Senya West District should be completed.
On contractors, he said there were competent contractors who, when paid on time, could do a good job as they had the necessary-equipment to undertake the task.
“It is the government's main priority to empower contractors so we do not have to depend on foreign contractors to construct our roads,“ he added.
The Central Regional Minister, Mr Kwamena Duncan, urged the ministry to complete works started on all major roads, indicating that it should give priority to the bypasses in the region.