The Ministry of Roads and Highways, has hinted that government will soon disburse $1 billion to settle outstanding road construction debts.
Mr Kwasi Amoako-Atta, the sector Minister, said this was to enable work to resume on critical cocoa road projects, left abandoned by contractors due to non-payment of monies, owed them.
To this end, he said a joint technical committee from his outfit and COCOBOD, have met and produced a document to reconcile all outstanding cocoa road debts, to facilitate payments.
As part of measures to curb the indebtedness to contractors, the Minister who was speaking at a four-day strategic management workshop at Ejisu in the Ejisu Municipality of Ashanti, said the Ministry of Finance, was strictly ensuring that no project commenced without adequate budgetary provision in the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) platform.
The Minister, therefore, assured that all contractors working on cocoa roads will soon be receiving letters for payments from various agency heads.
The workshop was held under the theme, “Ghana Beyond Aid: Strategies for Sustainable Investment and Road Asset Preservation”.
It afforded the various agency heads under the sector, the platform to reflect on past achievements, develop strategies and provide direction for future performance.
Mr Amoako-Atta indicated that government is poised to accelerating the provision of critical road infrastructure whiles creating the environment which would attract strategic investment into the sector, as well as preserving the investment which had already been made.
“Other issues which fell directly within the remit of the Ministry and needed to be addressed systematically included, over-commitment of road budgets by road agencies, poor project preparation, weak site supervision and low quality work emerging from capability constraints of contractors,” he added.
He said a lot is being done to revamp revenue generation avenues such as road tolls and stated that the Ministry had received approval from the Public Procurement Authority and will this month sign a contract with a local firm to undertake private management of the twenty (20) high-revenue earning toll stations in the country.
The services to be provided will include the rehabilitation and maintenance of the toll booths and the provision of well-tested electronic toll collection system, over a three (3) year contract period.