BUSINESS

Local contractors plead with gov’t to pay for completed projects

Contractors are demanding to know when they will be paid arrears owed them after repeated unfulfilled promises by the government.
They are worried that the several promises to pay the arrears have not been backed by action and are asking to know from government what is stalling their payments after a loan was secured to pay them.

Payment of contractors was a campaign promise by President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in the last election that brought him to power.
After assuming power, the President repeated his pledge to pay the contractors but many contractors have still not been paid.

Last year, the government said the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND) had secured a $1.5 billion loan to pay contractors by October 2018.
The October date was missed but the contractors were promised that they would receive their money before the end of 2018 after the loan agreement received parliamentary approval in November.
However, two months into 2019, the arrears remain outstanding.
Many construction firms have not been able to pay salaries of their employees while loans that they took from financial institutions continue to accrue interest. Some of them said their vehicles have been impounded by the financial institutions.

The agitated contractors are calling on their leadership to ensure that their monies are paid. The contractors also complained that they continue to face harassment from tax authorities as well as Social Security National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to meet their payment obligations.
President of the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana (ABCECG) Mr Prosper Yao Ledi, also expressed his frustration about the delay in paying contractors.
He said they had high hopes that they would be paid after the GETFUND loan received parliamentary approval. He stated that his consistent calls and follow-ups to the relevant agencies are yet to yield the desired result.

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“Each time, they tell us next week, every day next week and that next week never comes”, Mr Ledi said.
“Currently we don’t even know what else is causing the delay and authorities must tell us something good and quick.”

Mr Ledi said after several pressures, some payments were made to some contractors for work done in 2016 but the large part of the arrears remains unpaid.
The ABCECG President said they were running out of patience and urged government “not to allow another next week to pass without the payment”.
Mr Ledi said contractors are ready and willing to partner government to speed up the country’s infrastructure development but said their capacity is being weakened by the persistent delay in paying them for work done.

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