Business News of 2014-05-18

Ministry tasks road contractors to speed up work

The Minister of Roads and Highways, Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, has asked contractors executing the 52.2-kilometre Ayamfuri-Asawinso road project to redouble their efforts to ensure that the contract is completed on schedule.

The two-year contract, which is being executed by the China Jiangxi International Corporation and China Railways Wuju Constructions, was awarded on May 2, 2013 and is expected to be completed by May 1, 2015.

Progress of work on the project, which is divided into lots One and Two for the two Chinese contractors, is currently 26.10 per cent and 37 per cent completed respectively. Lot One of the project is estimated at GH¢13.6 million, while the Lot Two costs GH¢29 million.

The minister reminded the contractors that the project was a World Bank-sponsored one and needed to be completed on schedule. Alhaji Sulemana, who was accompanied by directors and other officials of the ministry and sector agencies, was on a two-day road project inspection tour of the northern and part of the Central Region.

The minister and his entourage also inspected ongoing road projects in the region, during which he advised the contractors to ensure that they carried out their work to bring relief to the people.

The contractors complained about the relocation of services and infrastructural facilities such as markets and schools and the absence of a full complement of staff as some of the causes of the delay of work. The Lot One contractor, Mr Zhou Ren, said the company was still awaiting the arrival of some of its equipment to enable it to carry out the work.

He said he also lacked the required personnel, such as site engineers and supervisors whom he intended to employ locally. The Lot Two contractor, Mr Chen Yao Ye, said he had to relocate markets and schools and assured the minister that the company had been able to clear all the obstacles and had started work in earnest.

Alhaji Sulemana, who was not happy with the work done so far, charged the consultants on the contracts, Messrs Joel A. Tomado and V.K. Srivastava, to ensure that the contractors executed the work fast to meet the deadline.

He wondered how the contractors could win the contract without the requisite logistics, saying that the problems with service providers should not come in, especially when the road was not a new one but an existing one, and advised them to liaise with the relevant officials to iron out any challenges they might be facing.

Alhaji Sulemana told the contractors that officials from the World Bank who had called on him in his office were not happy with the progress of work. The minister reminded them those donor-sponsored projects often had strings and time limits attached to them and so any delay in the execution of the projects could cost the nation.

Alhaji Sulemana said the Ayanfuri-Asawinso road was a critical one that linked the Central Region to the Western Region, making it important for the conveyance of raw materials such as bauxite. He charged them to reorganise themselves better than what they were doing currently, stressing that funding was readily available, for which reason he could not understand why such a project should delay.

Asked whether it was not possible to re-award the contract to another contractor, the minister explained that it was not an easy process, especially when the contractors had won the contracts through bidding, adding that such actions had resulted in the numerous judgement debts the country was confronted with.

The contractors, however, said work was in progress and explained that even though it looked as if the project was behind schedule, they would complete it within schedule.

Source: graphic.com
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