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Nov 12, 2007 | Editorial

These Little Things


Some of us may not have noticed it, but it is a fact that some of the road contracts in the country are so poorly executed that one is tempted to ask whether thorough inspections precede payments for such undertakings.

This appalling situation is more prevalent in urban settings, especially the nation's capital, which have hordes of what has been crudely described as emergency contractors.

Although in terms of importance, urban roads are relatively secondary when juxtaposed with highways, we still think that they too must be accorded the same treatment in terms of quality of inspection.

It is our position that if even inspections are made at all, at the end of works on urban roads, they are devoid of commitment to good quality and the interest of the nation.

We are in fact tempted to believe that some contractors are in league with corrupt inspectors. The resulting unhealthy union between such bad nuts renders inspections, if at all carried out, mere formalities for the records only.

No wonder therefore that some of the roads which were constructed a few years ago, are already begging for rehabilitation and thereby creating further financial strains on the already lean state kitty.

The diseconomies involved in such poor execution of contracts and the attendant poor inspection regime must be tackled now.
An attention whose magnitude should be at par with that accorded the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament will not be too much to ask for.

It is understandable why many Ghanaians want to become contractors. This is an area where if you succeed in making the right contacts and are ready to play ball, you can put out shoddy jobs and get paid, and big. What a way to become wealthy overnight!

Such lackadaisical undertakings, which are no doubt detrimental to the health of the economy, have been part of the country for decades now.

The painful thing about the subject under review is that it is as if there are no persons put in charge of inspecting jobs although these are ostensibly done.

It is this area which calls for a serious probe. The argument put out in the face of such shortcomings, has always been about the fact that contracts are graded. Whereas some are in the topmost grade, others are down below.

For us, however, whatever is given out as a contract should be able to pass muster and not develop worrying potholes a few months after the coal tar has been administered and the chippings put on them.

In some parts of the city, some roads were given gravel treatment in preparation for upgrading with coal tar. For unfathomable reasons, this was not done and the rains descended to wash away the gravel which was laid with hard earned public funds.

Roads are not the only structures that have been treated shabbily. Indeed, some of the gutters constructed in some parts of the city cannot pass the test of quality.

The gradient of these gutters is so poor that they have become repositories of stagnant water, a development which can best be described as an exercise in fleecing the general public and the state.

Alongside the foregone is the incidence of non-functioning traffic lights even in this regime of a healthy Akosombo Dam.

It is painful to think that someone or department is responsible for ensuring that such little things as traffic lights function properly.

When the contrary is the case, we can state without apprehension that some of us are not discharging our duties to the expectation of government and the people of this nation. Such little things matter a lot if our dream is for a healthy Ghana where systems work.

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