The emergency upgrading works on the Ho-Adidome and Adaklu-Abuadi road in the Volta Region, which began in June 2010 and scheduled to be completed within nine months have delayed.
The 18.8 kilometer (km) road is only about 78 per cent complete and forms part of infrastructure projects that have received revenue from the country’s oil proceeds.
Although work was far advanced on the main 13.8 km stretch on the Ho-Adidome road, the five km on the Adaklu-Abuadi road was still in a bad state when a team comprising members of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) and the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) visited the project site on May 25. The PIAC-IFEJ team was in the Volta Region to monitor some oil-funded projects.
The Resident Engineer of the Ghana Highways Authority in the Volta Region, Mr Divine Edem Quashigah, told the team that the contractor would be able to finish the work if funds were released.
So far, a total of GH¢25.8million has been certified for the project, while the contractor has been paid GH¢22.8million. The difference of over GH¢3million, he said, catered for the payment of utilities.
“The upgrading was estimated to be completed in nine months, but currently we are around 83 months. The percentage of work left is minimal, so if the contractor is paid, he will be able to finish it. He has applied for extension of time so we hope he will be able to finish soon,” he explained to the team.
He added: “Normally we pay interest on loans contracted because of delayed payments from the government. When you delay, you pay the interest. The government will pay the contractor. They hire the equipment, so if it goes beyond the time, they pay. If he had gotten the money, it would have been completed and there would be no need for interest to be paid on it.”
The engineer explained that the inability of the government to release funds on time for the road project was adversely affecting the contractors, adding that the government itself would also have to pay interest on the delayed funds.
He said: “It all boils down to money. You draw your budget, that this is what you want to do within a particular period and you prepare your certificates to get the money; if it doesn’t come, then there is virtually nothing to do. This is killing the contractors; they buy things on credit to work and the money is not coming.”
He said the stretch was supposed to be completed before the closure of the Adomi Bridge. However, the bridge has been inaugurated and still the upgrade is pending; normally if the surface is left idle for long, potholes develop and the contractors are compelled to spend resources to refill at their own cost, he said.
The team also inspected the Lot 2 and 3 of ongoing road construction of the main Ho-Adidome road. He said the contract was given to three contractors, so that the process could be fast-tracked for work to be finished on time. — GB