By Samuel Ansah Boateng
Some members of the Ghana Road Contractors Association have bemoaned Government’s decision to pay customers of defunct DKM, at the expense of huge arrears owed them (contractors) by government.
The contractors believe the decision by government was not just unfair but a misplaced priority and very discouraging to every hardworking Ghanaian.
“These are people who out of greed and laziness put money where they were not supposed to, we were all in this country when government tried all it could to caution them to desist from doing investment with such companies. At some point some even played politics whilst others made mockery of government. We are rather hardworking people who have genuinely put money into government contracts, and its been more than three years and our monies are still locked up in there”, one of the aggrieved contractors on conditions of anonymity explained.
On august 5 this year, over 300 customers of the defunct DKM Diamond Microfinance received their locked up cash since 2015.
The payment was made to customers in Brekum, Bolgatanga, Nkoranza, Sunyani and Wa respectively.
However, according to the Road Contractors, when government early this year promised to pay them; those whose contract worth was between GHC0-500,000, most of the contractors who had multiple certificates were neglected and are yet to receive such payments.
‘’they tricked us, government said it was paying between GHC 0-500,000, but what they did was that if you had two or three certificates from different contracts, instead of them to pay you accordingly, they rather sum up all the three certificates to exceed the 0-500,000 to mean you do not fall into that payment range, and then you are ignored, its been three years and we are suffering’’, one of the contractors on conditions of anonymity explained.
According to the contractors, they feel very peeved at government not only over the delay in paying them the arrears, but also over the manner recent contracts have also been awarded. ‘’do you see roads being constructed recently? Did you see any of them published in the newspapers? You see, they have only given them to their party faithful and cronies, we are all Ghanaians and we can’t be treated this way, pay us our arrears you won’t pay, contracts too you won’t follow the required procurement procedures for us to bid. Government is even paying for the new contracts which have been awarded, and why has he neglected us?”, another contractor quizzed .
‘’Because of how government has treated us for the past years, most banks are no more willing to assist us financially even when you present to them credible contract documents from government, they rather prefer contracts from donors, because they know government would either not pay or delay in payment, and one of such banks is the National Investment Bank’’, they alleged.
However, in October 2019, government said it had secured Ghc 2.2billion to defray part of arrears owed to road contractors.
The minister of Roads and Highways had indicated that government since January 2017 to august 2019 had paid a total of GHC1.7 billion of the outstanding arrears.
He said GHc1.0 billion of the amount received would be paid to contractors, funded through the Consolidated Fund and the remaining GHC 1.2billion would be from the Road Fund.
The payment modalities would be as follows; all payment certificates value GH¢500,000.00 and below will be paid in full and would cover contractors categorized as routine contractors.
He also assured 40 percent of the certificates would be paid and that disbursement had already commenced and was to be completed within a month.