Roads and Highways Minister, Kwesi Amoako Atta, has vowed to wipe out all shoddy road contractors from the system.
He said flushing out contractors that spearhead poor road infrastructure will ensure that the country’s roads and bridges are of the highest quality.
“Under my watch, we are coming up with very rigid guidelines for road construction to ensure a more stringent selection, certification and supervision process to weed out the self-styled unprofessional contractors from the system,” he said Kwesi Amoako Atta
Photo: The Minister made the comments at the 3rd West African Construction Awards held in Accra on Friday night where scores of road contractors and real estate players and individuals were rewarded for their work.
The minister also said the rigid guidelines would also ensure that the incidence of rampant cost overruns in the road sector would be completely avoided. Indeed, this is in line with a recent remark by the Communications Ministers Ursula Owusu Ekuful, that measures are being put in place to ensure no government contractor exceeds contract cost by more than 10%. Kwesi Amoako Atta noted that in the construction industry, shoddy work is called “sabity” and it is very derogatory when that word is used to describe one’s work as a contractor.
He said it is even worse when, as the sector minister, so many roads are described as sabity under his watch, and that is something he is personally determined to avoid. “I believe the president gave me the role as Minister out of trust and I am not going to sit by and watch some nation breakers build bad roads and line their pockets at the expense of the country,” he said. “Sabity will surely be a thing of the past under my watch.”
The minister noted that sadly, some of the shoddy contractors have collaborators in the ministry and so they get away with the poor work they do, but he is confident that the guidelines would ensure strict supervision and monitoring in the bid to avoid sabity.
“People in my ministry who condone sabity will be weeded out – and the self-styled Engineers and Surveyors will also be weeded out,” the minister said. He believes it is time for the processes of selecting and certifying contractors to be made stringent to stem the shoddy works and save the industry the continuous disasters and embarrassment.
The Minister, therefore, called on the professional players in the industry to help the ministry identify and weed out the few bad nuts giving the entire industry a bad name. “You often find Engineers ceding their role to mere artisans who get contracts and end up doing shoddy jobs, but if we the professionals begin to supervise such persons it will help the country and also save the image of the industry,” he said. The Minister noted that infrastructure is the foundation of national development and fundamental to economic growth so “we can’t afford to keep developing shoddy infrastructure around the country.” Kwesi Amoako Atta also stated that the ministry is coming out with guidelines to ensure that various designs by government contractors factor in judicious land use. He encouraged local industry players to learn from their foreign counterparts in the country and also ensure proper training and capacity building for their peers to bring some sanity into the system. Touching on the traffic situation in the country’s capital, he said plans are far advanced to implement the 578km Aflao – Elubo project, which includes the six-lane motorway stretch to ease traffic at Tetteh Quarshie interchange and other parts of the city.
He also touched on the ongoing public debate about the Madina – Adenta footbridges, saying that there were approved designs for those projects so until he goes on inspection to verify if indeed those designs were implemented or not, he cannot pass a value judgement based on public outcry. Meanwhile, the Minister lauded all the award winners and promised that the ministry will from henceforth sponsor the awards to encourage professionalism in the industry.
The scheme was designed and organized by Instinct Wave. CEO of Instinct Wave, Akin Naphtal said construction is at the forefront of economic growth because it creates opportunities for job creation, employment and economic growth. He said his company will continue to reward the industry that is at the forefront of building infrastructure across the sub-region.