Over the years, road contractors have complained about the government's refusal to pay them for works completed and even sometimes allege that only contractors affiliated to the ruling party are paid when monies are release to settle the debt.
But Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has given reason to the delay in payments of contractors.
According to him, most contracts awarded by the erstwhile Mahama administration were overpriced and the Akufo-Addo government is looking into the matter for those who are genuine to be paid.
He also noted that a major challenge he's faced with when it comes to the approval of payments for contractors is, some of these people have been indicted by the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelovo for various infractions.
Read the story orginally published in 2018 by www.ghanaweb.com.gh below
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”