Eighty per cent of local contractors are unable to reliably meet the completion dates for projects that let out to them, Mr Isaac Adjei-Mensah, the Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways, said.
He said this could largely be attributed to the inability of some local contractors to acquire high grade equipment due to its exorbitant cost which is beyond the capabilities of the average local contractor in Ghana.
“Furthermore, there is also currently no plausible and reliable plant hire system to support the industry,” Mr Adjei-Mensah said during the Second CAT Road Construction Seminar in Accra.
The seminar, on the theme: “Complete Solutions,” was organised by Mantrac Ghana Limited, the sole authorised dealer for Caterpillar products in Ghana and brought together stakeholders in the road construction industry such as the Road Contractors Association of Ghana and the Progressive Contractors Association, the two major bodies in the industry.
Mr Adjei-Mensah said: “Most local contractors, therefore, generally acquire their equipment at auctions in Europe and the United States.
“The average age of heavy earthmoving equipment acquired through this process is about 10-15 years. As you can imagine, there is no reliable spare parts and after sales support for such equipment,” he said.
Mr Adjei-Mensah said such equipment therefore, tend to break down frequently and ultimately lead to delays in implementation of projects, adding that the cost implications of such situations are not desirable for the Ghanaian economy.
He hailed Mantrac Ghana for maintaining its dominance in dealing in earthmoving and construction equipment for the past 78 years.
Mr Adjei-Mensah, however, appealed to Mantrac Ghana to explore the business opportunities and arrange for flexible terms for the road contractors to own construction equipment and improve on their delivery.
He urged the company to strengthen its presence nationwide and continuously improve on its after sales services to ensure that contractors who bought their products benefited from its rich experience and expertise.
He said most earth-moving operators did not possess the relevant skills and expertise to properly operate the machinery, which often led to their frequent breakdown, requiring huge financial outlays to fix.
To address this situation, Mr Adjei- Mensah said the ministry had established a fully equipped training centre in Koforidua to train industry players.
He said the Government was therefore leaving no efforts at encouraging and partnering with the private sector to fund and manage road sector needs, adding; “road transport is the dominant mode of transport in Ghana and accounts for 97 per cent of passenger traffic and 95 per cent freight”.
Mr Emad Adeeb, the Managing Director of Mantrac Ghana, said: “In today’s competitive world of construction, contractors are facing a lot of challenges to maximise their productivity and lower their operating cost.”
“New technologies in machinery and production can significantly improve your bottom-line profitability and your projects’ overall success,” he said.
Mr Adeeb said it was also the company’s quest to position itself for the mining and oil and gas sectors and it had invested $40 million for the construction of CAT’s Engine Center to support Ghana and the West African sub-region.
“This project comprises over 26 acres of land with 10,000 square metre repair centre and 5,000 square metre warehouse. It is expected to be completed by close of the year,” he said.