From Samuel Duodu, Sunyani
THE Brong Ahafo Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) has pledged to award about 50 per cent contracts on all projects to local contractors in the region, especially those in the road sector.
The move is to help build the capacities of local contractors in the region and help them contribute meaningfully to the socio-economic development of the region.
The Deputy Regional Minister, Mr Eric Opoku, gave the assurance at a special general meeting of the regional branch of the Association of Road Contractors (ASROC) of Ghana at the RCC conference room at the Regional Administration in Sunyani.
He stated that the council, and for that matter the government, would also ensure equity in the award of contracts.
Mr Opoku stated that the days when one contractor was awarded almost all the jobs in the region were over and that the RCC and the government would ensure that contracts were shared equally.
He further assured the contractors that the RCC would not delay in the signing of certificates of payments submitted to the office.
The deputy minister, therefore, urged officials of the various awarding agencies to also strive help reduce the delays associated with the signing of certificates and speed up the payment process for contractors.
He stated that the council would review certain contracts that had already been awarded, while those that were far behind schedule would be terminated and re-awarded to quality work.
Mr Opoku said the RCC regarded people in the construction industry as partners in development and would, therefore, do everything possible to assist them to speed up the development of the region.
Responding to some of the concerns raised by some members of the association, Mr Opoku stated that contractors who had been given jobs but could not deliver would be contacted before their contracts were terminated.
He said contractors should not wholly blame the government for the delay in the execution and payment of contracts but continue with their projects since some of the problems encountered by them in the industry were sometimes their own making.
The deputy regional minister also called on financial institutions to set up special credit facilities to help people in the construction industry since most of them had accrued huge debts as a result of the high interest rates and that had led to the collapse of some local construction firms.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Chairman of ASROC, Nana Ampaabeng Sikafo, on behalf of the members, stressed the need for local contractors to be given jobs that did not go for competitive bidding, to help build their capacities and also keep them in business.
He said the association had also engaged consultants to work on the reduction of about 37 government officials who were signatories to certificates of payment to ensure that jobs that were duly executed were paid for without delay as that often affected contractors.
Nana Sikafo further implored the government, as a matter of urgency, to put in place the new Road Fund Board whose members were also signatories to cheques for the payment of contractors.
The Regional Director of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA), Mr Kasim Nuhu, also advised contractors to build their capacities in the bidding order to enable them bid well for jobs to enable them stay in business.
Mr Nuhu expressed concern about the conduct of some local contractors, who in their desire to get jobs, often bid below the cost to get the jobs and later encountered financial difficulties.