The Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr. Kwesi Amoako-Atta, has bemoaned the high cost and estimates of road projects in the country.
In view of this, he has charged technocrats and consultants to demonstrate good faith in the pricing of projects to ensure value for money.
He was addressing a stakeholders’ meeting of project consultants in Accra, during which participants reviewed activities within the road sector for the delivery of efficient and quality services.
It was attended by various consulting groups, including technical people from the Ministry of Roads and Highways and its agencies, such as the Ghana Highway Authority and the departments of Urban and Feeder Roads.
According to the minister, the road construction industry was heavily over-priced, saying the development had become a major concern for the government.
He said an exercise conducted by the ministry revealed that estimates on projects in the country were slightly higher, compared to others within the sub-region.
“Why should a road per kilometre in Ghana be much more expensive than a road in South Africa, which we all know has very quality roads, compared to what we have here,” Mr. Amoako-Atta asked.
Regrettably, he said, any time concerns were raised about over-pricing, the technocrats and consultants who led such activities often went into anonymity, leaving the politician at the centre of public bullying.
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However, the minister said, politicians did not prepare project estimates because that was the mandate of technical people and consultants who were responsible for procurement processes, inventory of projects, feasibility studies, project design and estimate documents.
“No politician estimates projects, and when any government wants to engage in corruption and over-pricing of projects, it can only do so with the connivance of technocrats and project consultants,” Mr. Amoako-Atta added.
The minister, therefore, tasked them to let their years of experience and professionalism reflect in their work to safeguard state funds.
Mr. Amoako-Atta said while he was aware of delays in the payment for consultancy services, the government would ensure the settlement of arrears owed them to help realise the 2021 “Year of Roads” initiative.
“The President wants to leave a rare legacy in the road sector, and as players, we must be determined to move and work together to support activities under this initiative,” he said.
The President of the Ghana Consulting Engineers Association, Mr. William Desbores Albert Viala, said whereas the issue of pricing had become a major concern, the association’s own studies suggested otherwise.
The association would, meanwhile, form a technical committee to evaluate all necessary data on project costs from various jurisdictions within the sub-region to chart a way forward on the issues raised by the minister, he said.
Mr. Viala, however, appealed to the minister to endeavour to put in provisions for a percentage of the Road Fund to go into the payment of consultants.
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