Contractors demand payment from Government for work done

Accra- Some angry members of the Ghana Chamber of Construction Industry (GCCI) on Wednesday stormed the premises of the Ministries of Roads and Highways and Transport, and descended heavily on the Government of Ghana for not paying them for contract works executed for several years now.

Wearing red bands, and speaking angrily, the contractors pitched at the Ministries premises, and severally granted media interviews on their plight, threatening a mass demonstration by their more than 2000 members in good standing.

They also said they would take legal action against the Government if it continued to delay the payment of their monies.

Some casted insinuations at the Transport and Roads and Highways sector Ministers, as their executives held an ad hoc meeting with the Ministers and the Deputy Finance Minister.

At the end of the meeting, attended by the Ministers of Transport, Roads and Highway; and Deputy Finance Minister Kwaku Kwarteng, executives of the Chamber appealed for calm and assured the contractors of a scheduled meeting, next week, with the Ministries involved for a roadmap for the payment of the accumulated debt owed them.

Mr Emmanuel Martey, Chairman of the Chamber, who represented the contactors at the meeting told journalists that, scheduled payment for the arrears had not been carried out by the Government since 2016.

He backed the contractors in demanding payment for the debt owed them for the contracts executed, saying they were not begging for money from the Government but asking for what was legally their due.

Mr Martey did not rule out that some unscrupulous people could take advantage of the Government’s delay to pay for contracts works executed to front and extort monies from the contractors to assist them have their monies as the contractors claimed.

Mr Abdul Rashid Issah, a member of the of the Contractors Association of Ghana, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the request for the payment of debts owed them was in no way politically motivated.

He said: We’re here to drum home, and let Ghanaians and the Minister for Roads and Highways know that we’re suffering. We have paid engineers, workers and tradesmen as carpenters, masons, diggers, electricians; and for all the years, the Government has not paid.

The Government comes out to announce that it has paid contractors, but how many of us are paid? Only about one or two per cent of the contractors are paid, and we the rest are described as NDC Contractors.

We know the payment is a process, and we don’t understand why majority of us have not been paid for almost five years now. Do I have to wear party colours before I am paid what is due me? We are in no way begging for money, but asking the Government to pay for contract works done.

Calling them goro boys, Mr Issah said what was most annoying was some faceless people at the Ministry of Roads and Highways and the Ministry of Transport who fronted as agents and demanded that the contractors paid some amounts to them personally with the aim of facilitating the payments.

Sir, they will not take those who have smaller amounts to collect, but come with questionable documentation and bent on having those with higher amounts.

Mr Mohamed Sheriff, another member of the Chamber, queried the use of the Road Fund and other sources of monies to finance contract works, saying delay was affecting the execution of cocoa roads and other works.

He wondered if the Ministries were not causing financial loss to the State of Ghana, since Government would have to pay interests, running into millions of Ghana Cedis, on delayed payments and the re-issuance of contract certificates and accompanying practices.

Source: Ghana News Agency