Road contractors in Ghana have parried away what they say is a widespread misconception about the cause of the country’s poor road infrastructure.
They say it is unfortunate that road contractors in Ghana have not had the opportunity to fight back when they are being blamed for the poor state of roads, emphasising that would have to change.
National Chairman of the Association of Road Contractors, the umbrella body of road contractors in Ghana, Daniel Attoh Agroh, said because road construction is a process that involves many stakeholders, there is a need to scrutinise the contribution of every interest group in the process.
“Road construction is between the government and the technocrats who award the projects on behalf of the government. So if there is a problem, it is very clear that there must be some problem along the line…so it is not a matter of the contractor alone. It is a matter of all the people involved in the industry,” he said to open his defence for road contractors when he appeared on MultiTV’s late night current affairs programme, PM Express, Thursday.
Some 61 percent of roads in the country have been classified as poor, a situation that has contributed to road accidents in Ghana.
Out of the approximately 72,000 kilometres of roads in the country, 23 percent had been asphalted with only 39 percent in good condition.
A report by the Ghana Institution of Engineers (GhIE) has also revealed that the country’s road infrastructure had little or no ability to withstand the changing weather patterns.
The report notes that roads in Ghana typically have a shorter lifespan compared to international standards.
However, speaking on PM Express, the National Chairman of the Association of Road Contractors said as contractors, they work according to the specification of the awarding agent, government agencies, who award contracts for a specific project.
“In road construction, there are three phases to keep the road motorable all the time. We call one routine maintenance, we call another periodic maintenance then development, that’s rehabilitation…it seems we have completely neglected the first two that keeps the roads always motorable,” Mr Agorh explains.
He said government agencies that award road contracts focus only on the rehabilitation of roads, causing the public to blame road contractors for the lack of routine and periodic maintenance.
Mr Daniel Agroh
Mr Agroh also lamented the high interest on loans secured by contractors from banks.
According to him, in many instances, government agencies awarding contracts overshoot their budgets, causing a debilitating delay in the payments for jobs done.
He explains that because of the high interest on the loans secured for road construction, these delays make the servicing of the loans difficult.
In many instances, the contractors incur losses by the time the awarding government agencies pay up for the job done, making it the sector unattractive for high calibre contractors.
He has called on the government to support road contractors to mitigate the challenges they face.
Watch more from Thursday’s edition of the PM Express in the video below.