The inability of the government to release funds for the bitumen surfacing for some town roads in Aflao in the Volta Region has stalled the completion of the work, initially scheduled for November 2016.
Work on the 1.45 Kilometer (km) Old Melcom lorry Station Street which is in the Ketu South District and a 0.3km access road in the same township has dragged from March 2013 till date as a result of lack of funds.
According to the Operations Manager of the Department of Feeder Roads, Volta Region, Mr Edward Asenso, the contractor, Messrs Otuboat Limited was currently looking for extra funds to complete the work because the road was gradually be coming deplorable .
“For the quality of work, I would say it is good, even though when you match it with the schedule it is far behind time.”
“The challenge basically has to do with payments. We have issued the certificate from our end but from the contractors end, it might not have been paid. Basically that has been the cause of the delay,” Mr Asenso told a team from the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) and the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) during an inspection of work done on the road on August 3.
The 1.75km stretch has been under construction for five years, and with the delayed payments accounting for the delay in work, the contractor is likely to incur extra cost as he has to rework on the road before been able to continue with what is left.
“He is currently not on site. He is now looking for some sources somewhere to come and complete it. If he leaves it at this stage too, it goes against him. This road has been left idle for some time now and by the time he comes part of the gravel would have gone off and he has to do it again.”
He added “this thing affects road construction a lot. He does it up to a certain point and he leaves it because payment is not flowing. But by the time he comes, there is more work to be done, which is often done for free and a cost to the contractor.”
So far on the Aflao roads, the contractor has done formation which included the clearing of unsuitable materials and has also completed the preparation of the base.
Currently the contractor, Mr Asenso explained had chippings piled at the Timber Market in Aflao ready for pre-coating before the final laying of the primer seal.
“What he has to do is to prepare the base again. The chippings are already there, and with the laying, in a day you can do about two kilometers, and with this one been 1.75km he can finish it in a day. The first coat will be 14mm chippings, and the second coat will be 10mm chippings,” he told the team.
On the Keta area roads, Mr Asenso said the contractor had done seven number culverts, but the team was unable to see the work that had been done despite inspecting all the roads in the Keta town.
He also explained that other variations to the project came on board and that also accounted for the delay.
The variations, he said, included the bitumen surfacing of Kpetoe Town Roads (3.5km), final sealing of Aflao town roads (2.1km) and Kpetoe town roads (1.35km), some of which had been completed because the funds were readily available for that particular project.
Information made available to the PIAC led team indicated that the total contract sum for the road was GHC3.2 million when it was issued in November 2013, but the estimated cost to date now stood at GHC5.63million and the certified amount at the time of the visit was GHC3million.
This meant that the GHC545,637 from oil revenues allocated to the project formed a small part of the funding for the road project, which reiterates the continued call on the government to stop spreading revenues thinly on so many projects in the country.
The project monitoring exercise which was sponsored by the German Development Corporation (GIZ) is to enable PIAC – the committee with oversight responsibility over the prudent management of the country’s petroleum resources- to monitor and validate projects that have been funded with oil revenues since the country started commercial oil production.