Mr. Joseph Ebo-Hewton, National Vice Chairman of Road Contractors Association, has cautioned the government and Members of Parliament against using the construction and tarring of roads as campaign tools to win votes.
He said such public political promises which were often not backed by acceptable and approved financial commitments and budgets ended up putting the government under pressure to award such roads on contract as a way of fulfilling its promises.
Mr. Ebo-Hewton, who was presenting a paper in a review workshop for some Members of Parliament on the budget, said the provision of quality roads was mandatory and not a consideration from the government and therefore should not be provided based on votes.
He said almost every year, the government owed road contractors huge sums of money for so many months resulting in the payment of heavy interests, deferment of road maintenance programmes, shoddy work and loss of value for money.
Mr. Ebo-Hewton appealed to the government to increase levies and tolls on roads to provide adequate funding for the road sector.
He said the 2010 budget would not yield any meaningful dividends if roads were not developed throughout the country to help the farmers transport their produce from the rural areas to the marketing centres.
"There is no single sector of our economy which does not depend on roads. Even those who go to sea would have to depend on the road to distribute their catch for sale".
Mr Ebo-Hewton said a survey conducted by the Ministry of Transportation and the Ghana Statistical Service in February revealed that about 34 percent of children were unable to go to school due to bad roads leading to those schools.
The survey revealed that 46 percent of farmers in Ghana were unable to access marketing centres for their farm produce due mainly to either lack of or poor roads while another 40 percent of Ghanaians could not access health facilities in their catchments areas due to poor roads.
He advised the government to consider negotiating with insurance companies operating in the country to contribute to the road fund since availability of good roads would also serve the interests of those companies.
Mr Ebo-Hewton suggested that monies that would accrue from the road fund should be used for capacity building for both contractors and contract awarding agencies to ensure effective supervision and value for money.
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