Some contractors have abandoned work on some government projects in the Ahafo, Bono and Bono East regions over delayed payments.
The projects are mainly funded by the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).
This came to light when a seven-member team of the Local Government Committee of Parliament inspected the progress of work on some of the DACF-funded projects in the three regions.
Currently, work on the administration blocks and staff bungalows for the regional coordinating councils (RCCs) and metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), as well as health and education directorates and the judiciary have slowed down or stalled, with some abandoned by the contractors.
Some of the affected projects are staff bungalows for civil servants, as well as a court complex and a two-storey structure for the Bia East District Police Command.
Presently, most of the staff of the RCCs, MMDAs, as well as the various departments and agencies critical to the smooth functioning of the various RCC and MMDAs are operating in rented apartments in the regions.
These concerns were raised by some of the contractors and project managers, as well as officials of the Architectural and Engineering Services Limited (AESL),supervisors of the projects in the three regions.
The team was led by the Ranking Member of the Committee, Nii Lante Vanderpuye.
During the tour, it emerged that most of the projects that had stalled were directly awarded by the central government through the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development (MLGDR) and the erstwhile Ministry of Regional Re-organisation without recourse to the RCCs and the MMDAs.
On the contrary, the projects that were directly awarded by the MMDAs were seen progressing smoothly as the assemblies were said to be involved in every stage of the projects, including procurements, monitoring and supervision.
The team visited Techiman, the regional capital of the Bono East Region, to inspect the construction of three staff bungalows, as well as a GH¢16.9 million new administration block for the RCC, which is being executed by Alke Ghana Limited.
The project started in October 2019 and was supposed to be completed in August 2020, but was said to be only 68 per cent complete.
The Project Manager, Mr Daniel Enyimah, identified delayed payment as a major factor slowing the progress of work on the project.
“If there are prompt payments of funds, it will significantly facilitate speedy execution of the project,” he told the committee.
In the Nkoranza North District Assembly in the Bono Region, the team inspected the construction of a two-storey administration block for the assembly at Nkoranza.
The project was awarded by the Ministry of Regional Re-organisation and Development in Accra in November 2019 to Joemart Construction Company, and it was expected to have been completed in August 2020.
The contractor was said to have abandoned work on the GH¢3.74 million project four months ago, with work said to be only 48 per cent complete.
“The contractor left the site because he complained of delayed payment,” the Zonal Consultant of the AESL, Mr Edward Agyeman-Prempeh, who was overseeing DACF-funded projects in Ahafo, Bono and Bono East Regions, told the committee.
At Jinijini, capital of the Berekum West District, also in the Bono Region, the team inspected work on the administration block for the assembly.
The project was also awarded by the Ministry of Local Government to Jabora Company Limited.
It started in February 2020 and was expected to be completed in August 2020, but the contractor told the committee via phone that delayed payment was a stumbling block to the timely execution of the project.
He could not tell the committee members the cost of the project except to say that the project would be completed between four and six months’ period.
Officials of the affected MMDAs blamed the developments for the award of project contracts without the knowledge or involvement of the assemblies.
For instance, the Civil Works Engineer of the Berekum West District Assembly, Mr Eric Adu Nyamekye, said since the project was awarded directly from Accra, the assembly did not have any control over its execution.
In Kintampo, in the Bono East Region, the team toured the construction site of a 68 per cent completed administration block for the district assembly.
The project, which was started in November 2019 and was projected to be completed in August 2021, had been awarded to H. B. Bekam Company Limited.
In the Dormaa East District in the Bono Region, the team inspected the new administration block for the assembly at Wamfie.
The project was awarded in 2012, but was repackaged at an estimated cost of GH¢1.69 million.
It was said to be 70 per cent complete, and expected to be handed over by the end of May, this year.
At Hwediem in the Ahafo Region, the team inspected the construction of a two-storey administration block for the District Health Directorate which was not only at a standstill but was also said to have inadequate offices to accommodate officials of the directorate.
The team proceeded to Goaso, the capital of the Ahafo Region, to assess the progress of work on the GH¢16.9 million administration block for the RCC.
The project, which was being executed by Core Construction Limited, commenced in November 2019.
Release of funds
Responding to the concerns of the contractors, Nii Lante Vanderpuye said as of now, even the fourth quarter of 2020’s DACF had not been paid.
He indicated that delayed payments would not only continue to stall projects, but would make them become more expensive, while the RCCs and MMDAs would continue to waste huge resources to rent premises and other facilities for their staff to operate.
“And I think DACF should raise money so that we complete all these projects before the end of the year,” he stressed.