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Government Sets Aside GH˘907 Million For Road Sector   
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Dr. Nii Koi Kumah, Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways on Thursday announced that government had earmarked GH?907 million as 2012 budgetary allocation for the road sector.

He said about 39 contracts covering 403 kilometres of feeder roads had been awarded in the 10 regions and are at various stages of completion. Dr. Kumah announced this at the swearing-in of National Executive Council of Association of Road Contractors, Ghana (ASROC) in Accra.

He said the Ministry and Road Agencies would expect contractors to reciprocate by putting in more efforts towards the judicious utilisation of funds allocated to the sector. Dr. Kumah observed that while some contractors are hardworking and committed to their work, there are few of them who need to improve on their performance and increase their out-put to remain in business.

“Ghana has reached a state in her socio-economic aspirations where the over-all quality of her roads infrastructure, needs to be handled by competent contractors,” he added.

The Deputy Minister said the Labour-Based Technology (LBT) for road construction had been identified as cost effective and appropriate method of improving rural transportation, while addressing issues of economic development and poverty reduction.

He said as a result, the Ministry had revamped the LBT to improve upon the livelihood of rural Ghanaians by creating employment opportunities and facilitating access of the rural population, which is predominantly poor, to market their goods and services to enhance their socio-economic activities.

Dr Kumah said the Ministry identifies itself with the problems and challenges facing the association and would not relent to help provide the necessary incentives and motivations, in terms of equipment, funding, technical and administrative resources to enable local contractors perform creditably.

Mr Joseph Ebo Hewton, National Chairman of ASROC, said delay in payment and the number of collateral damages is kicking local contractors out of business and called on the government to address these issues with utmost dispatch.

“Contractors' businesses are folding up, banks see us as a plague to be avoided, and government itself is losing millions of cedis through payment of interest on delayed payment,” he added.

He called on government to take economic decisions that would grow the industry otherwise the abilities to carry out simple projects might be questionable and external contractors would be taking all the money back to their countries soon.

“Road contractors play a significant role in the country's economy therefore, all our efforts should be geared towards getting government to recognise this fact and provide us with the necessary support to enable us play this role effectively,” he added.

Mr Johannes Twumasi-Mensah, Immediate Past National Chairman of ASROC, alleged that some foreign construction firms came into the country under the guise of doing genuine business but ended up in deplorable activities such as illegal gold mining with dire consequences for the environment and the national economy.

He therefore called on the government to institute a better regulatory framework for those foreign firms in order that they operate within the country's laws.

Mr Twumasi-Mensah expressed appreciation to the members for the opportunity to serve the association and urged them to accord the new executives similar cooperation to move its agenda further.

ASROC was formed in 1993 as an umbrella grouping for Ghanaian road contractors to promote and prosecute government’s development agenda in the road infrastructure sub-sector of the Ghanaian economy.

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