General News of Friday, 20 September 2019
Education Minister, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has chided the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana for threatening to close down all Senior High School projects across the country.
The threats by the contractors were made known at a press conference organised in June this year, where they demanded payment of monies owed them for work done.
But Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh told the host of the Citi Breakfast Show, Bernard Avle, that the Association’s claims were not justified.
“We don’t owe any contractor doing a project in any Senior High School in the country whether new or old. I have told them that all those who have not completed their projects will not be awarded any other contracts in this regime. A lot of contractors are not owed but they have abandoned their sites because they want to come back for variations.”
The Minister was reacting to claims that there is a shortage of boarding facilities because the government has failed to pay contractors who were awarded contracts to put up structures in various Senior High Schools across the country.
Contractors demand payment
The Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana earlier this year threatened to lock up all schools built by its members across the country, if government fails to pay all monies owed them for work done by the end of June 26, 2019.
According to the contractors, government, through the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), secured a loan of $1.5 billion to pay contractors for work done, but has failed to pay them in full.
Speaking to Citi News after addressing a press conference in Accra, the National President of the Association, Prosper Ledi urged the government to do the needful or risk incurring their wrath.
“What we are saying now is that, we are giving government two weeks – which is June 26. Government should not allow it to get to that point. We are informing government that starting from 26th June, they will see us closing down the schools we have built but have not been paid for work done, yet, such schools are being used. This is the starting point to prove to government that they owe contractors and the contractors need their money.”
“What we (contractors) are going through is [unbearable]. The bankers, suppliers, GRA and SSNIT are chasing us. We are not even able to pay our electricity and water bills. So government is pushing us to the point of death. And, no man who is being pushed to his death will allow himself to die. They should start paying contractors so that we do not go to our early grave”, he pleaded.