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Contractors deem release of Gh¢150 million for potholes patching as insufficient

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The Ghana Chamber of Construction Industry has called on the Ministry of Roads and Highways to release a minimum of Gh¢2 billion to pay road contractors for work done.

It said though the release of Gh¢150 million for the engagement and payment to road contractors undertaking pothole patching across the country was in the right direction, the amount was a far cry from the Gh¢15 billion owed its members.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the chamber, Emmanuel Cheery, told the Daily Graphic, when reached for his comments, that the release of Gh¢150 million by the government was woefully inadequate to address the pothole situation in Accra, let alone the entire country. “Inasmuch as we commend the government for releasing such an amount, we are pleading that the money should be increased in view of the nature of the work,” Mr. Cheery said.

Workload

He added that the money was small for the work as some of the potholes had now turned into manholes and gullies in view of months of neglect. “They are manholes and some of them are gullies. If they were to be these normal potholes that we see they could be treated differently, but the current ones have been left unattended to for so long and so they have deteriorated into manholes and gullies,” the CEO emphasized.

Mr. Cherry expressed the hope that the minister-designate for Roads and Highways would listen to the citizenry and industry players to release more funds to be used for road works. He also appealed to the government to endeavor to settle its indebtedness to contractors which was over GH¢15 billion.

Ministry

Last Thursday, the Ministry of Roads and Highways, in a statement, said it had released GH¢150 million for the engagement and payment of road contractors undertaking pothole patching across the country. A statement signed by the Head of Public Relations Unit of the Ministry, Nasir Ahmed Yartey, said the money was part of the first quarter releases from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Roads and Highways. It said the intervention by the government was to enable the Ghana Highways Authority and the Department of Urban Roads to take advantage of the dry season to undertake routine pothole patching activities on some major roads which deteriorated last year due to heavy rains.

It expressed the hope that the timely intervention would result in smoother road surfaces, help reduce the risk of accidents and prolong the lifespan of road infrastructure. “The Ministry of Roads and Highways wishes to reiterate its commitment to address all road network challenges across the country and encourages all to cooperate with the ministry as it strives to improve the national road network,” it said.

Additional source: Graphic online