The hope of road contractors to secure new contracts this year has been dashed as the freeze on award of new contracts will remain in force, at least till the end of this year.
Minister of Roads and Highways, Alhaji Amin Amidu Sulemani told The Finder in an interview that the decision to freeze award of new road contracts was to enable government settle arrears owed contractors working on ongoing road projects.
Explaining the rationale behind the freeze, he stated that some of the projects were at critical stages of construction and funds were needed to complete them.
The Ministry of Roads and Highways has three key agencies that execute its projects. These are the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA), in charge of trunk roads or main arterials; the Department of Urban Roads (DUR), for urban roads; and the Department of Feeder Roads (DFR), for rural roads, including the cocoa access roads.
New road projects are financed under the Consolidated Fund while road maintenance projects are serviced with funds accruing from the Ghana Road Fund Secretariat (GRFS) – which, he said, are not enough.
Alhaji Sulemani said the ministry’s 2014 budgetary allocation would be used to pay contactors to complete ongoing projects.
He mentioned slow delivery of projects on the part of contractors as a result of low capacity, delayed payment of contractors and inadequate funds for maintenance of roads as major challenges facing the sector.
Some ongoing road projects
On road projects in the Volta Region, he said the Dode-Papaso-Nkwanta and the Nkwanta-Oti-Damanko portion of the Eastern Corridor road projects were progressing steadily.
The Hohoe town roads had been completed while the Ho-Fume, Kpando-Dambai-Worawora, Golokwati-Hohoe road projects were nearing completion.
While work progresses on that corridor, work on the Asikuma Junction-Kpeve road has slowed down considerably. The contractor has virtually packed out of the site, citing non-payment for work done as the reason for his action.
Alhaji Sulemani said the project was being funded with funds from Government of Ghana (GoG).
On road projects in the Greater Accra Region, the Minister said work on the Giffard- Burma Camp, Awoshie-Pokuase, Kwame Nkrumah Interchange and the Spintex roads had all reached advanced stages of completion.
He mentioned others that had reached the same level of completion as the Tetteh-Quarshie-Madina, Achimota-Ofankor, Madina-Pantang, Ashongman-Haatso-Agbogba, Gulf House Link and the Ashaiman-Oyibi road projects.
In the Eastern Region, Alhaji Sulemani said the Anyinam-Konongo-Nkawkaw Bypass was almost complete while the Koforidua-Bunso and the Nsawam-Aburi road projects were ongoing.
In the Northern Region, Alhaji Sulemani said the Buipe-Tamale road and the Fulso-Sawla road were progressing steadily while work on the Tamale-Salaga and Tamale-Kumbungu projects were far advanced.
Brong Ahafo Region
Upgrading of the 30.8km Atebubu-Kwamedanso road awarded to M/SA & N GHANEM Ltd and funded by Government of Ghana was in progress. The project is expected to be completed this year.
Also, the upgrading of the 11km stretch of Prang-Kintampo road under the Ghana Highway Authority is funded by Government of Ghana. It is expected to be completed in 2014. Progress of work is at 98%.
Roads constructed in the Western Region include the 110km Agona Junction to Elubo road; Tarkwa-Bogoso-Ayanfuri, being funded by an European Union grant; 52-kilometres Ayanfuri to Atwinaso road, funded by IDA; Assin Praso and 60 kilometres from the Ashanti Region side of the Bridge has been rehabilitated and ready for commissioning.