…Fingers Lack of Funds
Lack of funds to pay contractors working on the Volta Region portion of the Eastern Corridor road has affected progress of work on the project.
For instance, work, which started in December 2011 on the Asikuma-Have lot, covering a distance of 45 kilometres and scheduled to have been completed in December, 2013, is currently 52 per cent done.
Kwabena Owusu-Aduomi, a Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways, announced this in response to a question posed by Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Etse Dafeamekpor, on the floor of Parliament yesterday.
The MP wanted to know when the road will be completed, having elapsed the initial schedules on two occasions.
“Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Minister of Roads and Highways when the section of Eastern Corridor road, stretching from Asikuma to Have, will be completed.
In answering the question, the Deputy Minister gave an assurance that if the payment pattern was improved, the company would be able to complete and hand over the project this year.
He told parliament that the contract was awarded for the upgrading of the Eastern Corridor road to either bituminous surface dressing or asphaltic concrete surface.
The projects, he added, are in lots, the Asikuma Junction-Have Section (45km) is lot1 awarded on 29th September, 2011. The project commenced on 5th December, 2011 for completion in 24 calendar months, thus by 5th December, 2013.
However, Mr. Owusu-Aduomi said, “the project has suffered cash-flow challenges as a result of delay of the employer in paying for work done, noting, the physical progress of the project has therefore been slow.”
Following that, the Deputy Minister explained an extension of completion time of 39 calendar months which brought the extended contractual completion date to 5th March, 2017, stating this has also expired as the project is currently 52 % physical completion.
The contractor, he said, is at site working and has requested a further 12 calendar months’ extension of completion time and the ministry has reviewed and the completion of the project would depend largely on how frequent payments are made for work done.
But Hon. Dafeamekpor said though the answers were convincing, the prevailing situation of delays in payment for work executed is not accep;ted, and called on the government to expedite action as it is affecting business activities on the roads.
He said, apart from vehicles plying the road, it also served as routes for farmers to cart their farm produce to market centres to reduce post-harvest losses.
“There is, therefore, public outcry for the government to act fast enough to complete the project,” he intimated.
The previous government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) adopted the road project in its manifesto for the December 2016 general elections but could not complete it in fulfilment of its manifesto promise.
The ruling government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has, however, assured the people that the government will continue with the project and complete it to open up the area to commerce and reduce drudgery of travelling on the rugged road.
A Chinese construction firm, G.S International Developers, is undertaking major constructional works on 45 kilometres from Asikuma to Have under GOG funding, 20 kilometres from Agate to Logba Alakpeti under COCOBOD funding and 31.3 kilometres from Logba Alakpeti to Hohoe, also under COCOBOD funding.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba