“Check the payment schedule and we are going to do better.” Amoako Attah

The Ghana Chamber of Construction Industry (GhCCI) has expressed profound dissatisfaction with the Minister-designate for Roads and Highways following his remarks that no local contractor has the potential to undertake the design and construction of the Accra-Tema Motorway Extensions Scheme.

During his screening at the Appointments Committee, the candidate, Kwesi Amoako Attah, addressed questions in Parliament regarding the skills of local contractors when he made the statement.

He told the Committee that the government had signed a deal to establish several exchanges with the Portuguese conglomerate Mota-Engil since, unlike Ghanaian building companies, the firm has the capacity to carry out the ventures.

But, among representatives of the sector, this did not sit well.

In a phone interview with Citi News, GhCCI Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel Cherry blamed the non-interest of any Ghanaian contractor in such a project on the government’s weak payment schedule.

In addition, he said, any of the big ventures sponsored by international donors come with conditions that preclude them from contracting (local contractors).

“Most of these tremendous contracts are donor-funded contracts with added conditionalities. Secondly, most municipal contracts are short-changed and our local vendors do not profit from the payment regimes that enable them develop the skills they need. “It will be very difficult for a local contractor to go in and win whenever a condition is attached to a project,” he said.

He also called on the Minister-designate to, when approved by Parliament, review the payment conditions for local contractors.

All we foresee from the minister is to attempt to examine the payment mode at his ministry as a matter of urgency so that payment can go according to the contractual terms. Most of our local contractors are prepared to develop the financial, technological and logistical capability to meet their foreign counterparts in any offer that might arrive, if payment is very soon as anticipated in the contact,” he added.

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In the meantime, Kwesi Amoako Attah suggested that it is because of the problems created by the coronavirus in the economy that the money owing to the country’s contractors has not yet been charged.

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