The Government has released over GH¢500 million to two of the contractors working on the Eastern Corridor roads to enable them expedite work on the project.
The contractors, Messrs G.S. International Developer GH Ltd and the China Jiangxi International Corp are the only two who were awarded the Government of Ghana fully funded program in September 2011 and were expected to complete the project within 24 months.
The Eastern Corridor road is a national route N2, according to the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) classification. It starts from the Tema Motorway Roundabout in the Greater Accra Region and ends at Kulungugu in the Upper East Region on the north-eastern border with Burkina Faso.
The road traverses the Greater Accra, Eastern, Volta, Northern and Upper East regions, covering 695 km, connecting major towns such as Tema, Atimpoku, Hohoe, Nkwanta, Bimbila, Yendi, Bawku and Kulungugu.
The G.S. International, which was awarded the 45km Asikuma Junction-Hohoe-Jasikan-Poase Cement stretch of the road, representing Lot Two of the Eastern Corridor road, has so far done only 13 per cent of the work.
The China Jiangxi which is working on the Lot Four stretch on the Nkwanta-Oti Damanko portion of the road totaling 50km has so far done only 16 per cent of the work. The two contractors had abandoned the work.
At the Lot Two, the contractor had concentrated on constructing underpasses, which were not in the original designs of the contract, to the displeasure of the Minister of Roads and Highways, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, who directed that the focus should be on the road and not the underpasses.
Alhaji Fuseini, who said this when he recently inspected the Eastern Corridor Roads, stressed that though he was not against the underpasses, they should be constructed where there was a pressing need.
Messrs G.S. International Developer GH Ltd, who are working on the Lot Two, for instance ,had earmarked 14 underpasses, each costing about GH¢300,000. It has so far constructed two at Peki.
At the Lot Four, the minister and his entourage found out that the contractor had deserted the work and moved some of his equipment to Tema, “for repair works”, but insiders alleged the contractor had hired out the equipment to other contractors.
The minister announced that the government was considering securing a China Eximbank loan facility to fund the two in order to speed up work on the road.
The Minister also charged directors of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) to always investigate the background of foreign contractors before accepting their bids for contracts.
He explained that that would help them to get first-hand information on their financial standing and whether they were in a position to pre-finance contracts funded by the Government of Ghana (GoG).
Alhaji Fuseini directed that any foreign construction firm seeking to execute any job in the country in future must show proof of its ability to pre-finance at least 30 per cent of starting capital.