Roads and Highways Minister, Hon. Kwasi Amoako-Atta has revealed that the delay in honouring payments to the contractors for the completion of the Bolgatanga-Bawku Road is due to the numerous irregularities the contract is fraught with.
According to him, the contract was awarded through a process of sole sourcing, in breach of the Public Procurement Act, explaining that contracts of such magnitude have to be awarded through a competitive bidding process, to ensure value for money.
During day 2 of President Akufo-Addo’s tour of the Upper East Region, Queiroz Galvao, the company in-charge of the construction acknowledged that the road project was behind schedule and attributed the slow progress of work to delays in the payment of certificates lodged at the Ministry of Roads and Highways
Nonetheless, Hon. Kwasi Amoako-Atta revealed that $100 million had so far been paid to the contractors.
Delving into the contract awarded to Queiroz Galvao, Hon. Kwasi Amoako-Atta noted that the contract was awarded to the Brazilian construction company on 7th December, 2016, the same day Ghanaians went to the polls to elect a new President.
As though this was not enough, the Minister added that payment certificates, as contained in the contract, are to be paid from the Road Fund, which is wholly inappropriate for road contracts of such magnitude. This, he said, is the reason why payments have delayed.
“The magnitude of this contract requires that payments be effected directly from the budget, i.e., the Ministry of Finance, and not from the Road Fund. The Road Fund was established to provide a secure source of funding for the preservation of Ghana’s road network, and not for the payment of big constructions such as this,” he added.
Again, Hon. Kwasi Amoako-Atta noted that 13.1 kilometres of the road had been subcontracted to another construction company, making the contract even murkier.
“As at August 2017, 22% of the road should have been completed. But as at now, only 14% has been completed. Discussions are ongoing with the Ministry of Finance in an attempt to migrate the project from one whose payment is dependent on the Road Fund to one from the Government of Ghana treasury,” he added.