You are here: HomeBusiness2018 02 26Article 629624

Business News of Monday, 26 February 2018


Overpriced contracts cause of delay in paying contractors - Ofori-Atta

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta play videoFinance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has attributed government’s reluctance to pay contractors sums of money owed them to overpriced claims submitted by some of them.

According to him most contracts awarded over the past 7 years, during the erstwhile administration, were bloated.

This he intimates serves as a basis for the delay in the payments as the government is making efforts at screening the claims to ensure only deserved contractors receive their money.

Ofori-Atta bluntly stated that he has a challenge approving payments to contractors when some of them have been indicted by the Auditor General for various infractions

The Finance Minister admitted that though some claims were overpriced there were some contractors who may have presented the right amount and have been affected by the delayed payment

“Both you and I are aware of the overpricing of contracts that we experienced in the past 6/7 years. So for me personally it’s a challenge to pay out if I’m not sure that I’m crystallising a debt, if you look at what the Auditor General came up with where about 43% of the claim could not be validated. So that may be part of a restraint of being in a hurry to pay for something that may not be legitimate but it creates collateral damage for those who have legitimate bills.” Ofori-Atta remarked.

He revealed that government has however taken urgent steps to review some of the contracts so that those with legitimate claims would be settled.

The Finance Minister added that government had drawn a calendar to review contracts and enable those with verified details carry out their work.

Ofori-Atta explained “We have a strategy of at least looking at 20% of those payments and the Roads Minister has also gone through some of his validations and is bringing these up to us but I think there has to be a balance between us paying enough and we are also looking at beyond the 20% we are paying we are looking at every quarter another reassessment of what it is we have and seeing whether some extraordinary payments could be made for that”

According to the Auditor-General's report, public institutions have overpaid some contractors and suppliers to the tune of GH¢53.1 million (GH¢53,178,715.42).

Out of the GH¢5.4 billion (GH¢5,479,253,011.26) rejected due to the absence of relevant documentation (such as warrants, contract documents, invoices, procurement records, SRAs, etc), use of projected contract cost and goods not supplied, GH¢771 million (GH¢771,938, 637.34) were claims which had already been paid for.

“The challenge with it is when 2/5 of what is lying in front of you may with all probability not be correct, whether you want to sign that cheque because the money goes away but we are very cognisant of it and the empathy level is high so that those who need to work can go on working.

He made these known during a meeting with Financial Journalists at the Finance Ministry to brief them on updates on the economy.