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General News of Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Source: Michael Teye

Road contractors remind President Akuffo Addo of 'Christmas pay' promise

immediately settle all outstanding debts owed them following President Akuffo Addo’s promise to pay them to enhance their Christmas celebrations.

According to the poor contractors, the government’s inability to pay their interim certificates has created a very big challenge for them as they came under mounting pressure from their creditors to pay off their credits.

President Nana Akufo-Addo earlier in December told wives of contractors that he has paid their husbands and, so, this year’s Christmas season would be an enjoyable one.

“We have started paying contractors”, President Akufo-Addo told market women and traders at Okaishie on Tuesday, 3 December 2019.

But that is not all of their woes as they further complained that the government’s failure to settle the outstanding debts will affect their respective celebrations of the festive season.

CEO for the Ghana Chamber of Construction Industry, Mr. Emmanuel Awusenya Cherry who briefed a section of the media on the issue accused the government of paying lip service to address the plight of the affected contractors as nothing had been done to address the issue.

“We are tired of government’s lip service to us,” said an agitated Mr. Emmanuel Awusenya. “We are tired of the vain promises by government and the continued failed promises to pay us to enjoy the Christmas.”

Mr. Emmanuel Awusenya Cherry and his group are thus very worried and disappointed by these occurrences and are thus appealing to the president and his government to act quickly on their plea.

“Delay in paying for work done by contractors is affecting us, contractors capacities are going down. About 80% of Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs) that I have had the privilege to go through prior to the minister’s endorsement are claims on interest on delayed payment.

“Huge amounts are being paid in projects as price fluctuations because the projects travel beyond the initial contractual completion periods. “As a result of these, communities also do not receive the early benefit these projects were to give them. These are all unpleasant situations and very worrying,” he lamented.

He added they are disappointed in the way they Cocoa road contractors are being handled in the country over the past 3 years, adding that it was highly unfortunate that, nothing much had been done even after all auditing had been done in the Cocoa sector.

The CEO for the Ghana Chamber of Construction Industry said contractors had largely remained tolerant and desisted from going to town with their several complaints to spare cocobod any challenges such actions could pose to its relationship with providers of the syndicated loan but however threatened that contractors will have no option but to intensify their agitations come January 2020 if government still failed to honor its obligations to them.

“We do not want to make a lot of noise because the cocoa sector is managed by the syndicated loan and if we do not take care, it will affect the credibility of COCOCBOD and that is the main reason we are being measured in our approach.” He said. “Their response has not been encouraging and if they don’t take care, after first January, they will not be pleased with the actions we’ll take.”

He reminded the president of his empathies for contractors as an opposition leader and his promises to settle the debts owed them by the previous government if elected and further chastised authorities for apparently misleading the president which formed the basis for his unfulfilled promises to pay them.