General News of Wednesday, 14 August 2019
It has emerged that, up to twenty-two (22) unpaid contractors have died of since the current government took power in 2017, MyNewsGh.com reports.
The alarming situation, according to the founder of Progressive Contractors Association, Akoa Kofi Owusu Achiaw, is the result of “hunger” and “frustration”, following government’s inability to pay for works executed by the contractors, with some dating back to 2013.
Speaking in an interview with Kumasi-based Angel FM monitored by MyNewsGh.com, Akoa Kofi Owusu Achiaw said, while some of the deceased contractors died of sheer hunger, others committed suicide out of frustration to avoid harassment by their creditors.
Contractors who have executed projects for the government in various sectors have in recent times put up varying offensives to demand payment.
Some road contractors not long ago besieged the Ministry of Roads and Highways to demand immediate payment; it took the intervention of police to bring the marauding crowd under control.
The development has compelled surviving contractors who are owed by the Government in various sectors to take their demand for payment a notch further by petitioning the Asantehene, Otumfour Osei Tutu II to intervene.
Consequently, a meeting has been scheduled today, Wednesday, August 14 at the Manhyia Palace where the contractors would meet the King, barring any last minute changes.
A circular sighted by MyNewsGh.com, inviting “all contractors owed by the Government of Ghana”, entreats all contractors to “try to be at the meeting as it would serve as a viable platform and tool for the success of our struggle for the future of our business”.
The Ministry of Roads and Highways has however not been forthcoming with explanations on why it has taken so long to pay the hundreds of contractors.
Some of them say they have lost hope in the government and have had reason to predict its return to opposition should the trend continues unabated.
According to Akoa Kofi Owusu Achiaw, the posturing, utterances and general attitude of the appointees of this government are injurious to the chances of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to staying in power.
This followed a recent rant by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah that contractors who feel they are unable to independently source funds to complete government projects to forfeit them to their counterparts who may be willing to do so.
The minister in an interview on Kumasi-based Angel FM last week condemned government for being indebted to contractors and charged it to by all means possible, find money to settle the age-old debts, but chastised contractors for using the situation as a yardstick to stifle government projects.