Business News of Sunday, 13 August 2017
The government has decided to purchase building materials for contractors to complete housing projects begun by previous governments.
According to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, the move was aimed at getting value for money.
He said it had come to the ministry’s attention that most contractors diverted money given them by the government for other purposes instead of using them for the reason they were released.
That trend, he said, had contributed immensely to the high number of abandoned projects across the country and for that reason, the government had decided to buy the materials, as well as monitor to ensure they were put to good use.
Answering questions regarding the performance of the Ministry of Works and Housing at the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC’s) sitting in Accra last Thursday, Mr Akyea said the move was aimed at ensuring the projects were completed on time for workers to have access to affordable houses.
He said it was also to ensure the government was not short-changed by unscrupulous contractors.
Mr Akyea explained that contractors would be paid for workmanship as and when the project progressed.
The minister commended former President John Dramani Mahama for initiating housing projects that had provided accommodation for the Navy and the officials of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).
He said the government was committed to ensuring that housing projects began by former Presidents Mahama and John Agyekum Kufuor were completed to pave the way for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s housing projects to commence.
He further gave an assurance that the government would ensure a mortgage system that would make it possible for workers to use 30 per cent of their annual salaries to pay off mortgage loans over a 20-year-period.
Adjen Kotoku lands
Earlier, the Director at the Hydrological Services Department of the ministry, Mr Hubert Owusu-Ansah, explained why ¢1.3 million in compensation due landowners at Adjen Kotoku in the Greater Accra Region had still not been paid although the Auditor-General’s Report indicated the funds were released in 2014.
He said a committee had been constituted to oversee the payment of the compensation.
Mr Akyea assured the committee that he would demand timelines from the committee to ensure the landowners were compensated.
Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations
Answering questions on perceived debt owed Rlg by the government, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, said the government signed the contract for the training of youth.
He said GH¢1.3 million was refunded to Rlg after it claimed it had trained people and noted that the ministry was to vet the people who were trained.
However, he said the Attorney-General had indicated that Rlg also owed the government so, to the best of his knowledge, the government no longer owed Rlg.
“This project has been a source of worry when it comes to issues of Rlg and the government of Ghana. A committee was set up to investigate what was due government. We are also seeking the advice of the Attorney-General to see if the contract can be terminated,” Mr Baffour-Awuah noted.
The Committee Chairman, Mr James Avedzi, commended the two ministries for a good work done and encouraged them to improve their performance.
Ministry of Education
The Western Regional Director of Non-formal Education, Samuel Mensah, told the committee that the BNI, together with the Ghana Police Service, was on the lookout for two teachers of the Ghana Education Service (GES) who absconded with more than GH¢10,000 in salaries they did not earn.
The two are Madam Princess Simons of the Sekondi District Education office and George Erzual of the Jomoro District Non-formal Education Directorate.
Ghana Police Service
The Inspector General of Police, Mr David Asante Apeatu, told the committee that police officers whose promotion had delayed for the past seven to eight years have all been promoted.
A Deputy Minister for the Interior, Mr Henry Quartey, urged the public to report people who demanded money from potential recruits to the nearest police station for appropriate action.
“Mr Chairman, I have the permission from the minister to inform this House that plans are in place and that when the ministry is ready to recruit in the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Ghana Police Service, Ghana Fire Service and the Prison Service, a formal communiqué will be sent to Parliament House and the good people of this country will be informed accordingly,” the Deputy Minister said.
It also emerged that eight officials of the GIS, who were listed by the Auditor-General as non-existent staff and yet earned a total of GH¢60,070.67 were indeed staff of the GES.