Mr Samuel Atta-Akyea, the Minister of Works and Housing, on Friday, said poor management of the national economy by the previous administration resulted in non-payment of contractors who executed various State contracts.
He said the monies that were budgeted for payment of contractors were either misappropriated or diverted for other things.
“I also feel your pain because it’s sad that after taking a loan with high interest rate to execute a contract and you’re not paid, therefore, the loan keeps on ballooning and sometimes you have to sell your property to pay the loan,” he said.
The Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana says government was owing some of its members’ arrears up to 18 months, which had made it difficult for some of them to raise money to undertake other contracts.
Mr Atta-Akyea, who said this at the 9th Annual Convention and Exhibition of the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana (ABCDECG), in Accra, said the Akufo-Addo-led Administration was committed to paying the arrears.
He said government had set aside funds to settle the arrears so that “you don’t become contractors of shame”, adding “the NPP government believes in empowering the Ghanaian contractors to succeed, therefore, we will put measures in place in that regard.”
The Minister asked the contractors to catalogue all contracts, which the members of the Association could execute to the best of their abilities so that government would give them preference when awarding contracts.
“You should submit a memo of the contracts you can do and it would be forwarded to the Cabinet for consideration,” he said.
“It’s sad that sometimes when we want to give contract to a Ghanaian contractor, then we are in a dilemma because of shoddy work some of them undertake,” he said.
The minister cited a classic example where a Ghanaian contractor was given a contract to renovate some offices of the Ministry of Works and Housing but it was poorly executed, saying; “even though the work the contractor executed is not even up to three years when it rains, the place I even sit has a challenge”.
Mr Atta-Akyea, therefore, admonished Ghanaian contractors to improve their expertise so that they could execute quality contracts and also partner multinational contractors to undertake mega projects.
He expressed his happiness over moves to establish a regulatory body to monitor and regulate the activities of construction industry, saying it would improve professionalism in the sector.
He advocated for a local content legislation for the construction industry similar to that of the petroleum sector so that certain contracts would be reserved for only Ghanaian contractors.
The Minister used the occasion to launch a five-year strategic development plan for the Association, which would streamline activities of contractors in the country and promote professionalism.
The two-day conference was held on the theme: “Promoting an Effective Construction Industry for Sustainable Development-The Need for a Regulator”.