A survey carried out by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in the Upper East Region indicates that there is growing discontent among contractors undertaking dam projects, as a result of undue delays in payments for work done.
The contractors in question are engaged in the rehabilitation of dams in various communities including Manyoro, Namonsa, Yamerega, Sandema and Garu-Tempane, under an International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Government of Ghana joint sponsorship.
Some of the contractors who wished to remain anonymous said payments have never been prompt since they began work on those projects in the early part of 2006.
Their latest payment certificates for work done which were submitted to the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture since October last year have still not been paid, they maintained.
According to them, explanations given by officials at the Regional Directorate of the Ministry in Bolgatanga were inconsistent and unsatisfactory.
The contractors said around December last year, "they told us that funds would arrive from the IFAD office in Rome for payment of the current certificates, but after keeping us in suspense for about 10 months they are saying it is the various District Assemblies where the projects are sited which would pay for the works."
They contended that in addition to creating problems between them and their bankers, the delay in payment also had an adverse effect on their work schedule.
The general view among these aggrieved contractors was that this unfair attitude towards local dam contractors in the Upper East was at variance with official pronouncements about the importance the Ministry attaches to the provision of dams and for that matter the promotion of irrigated farming in the Region.
They indicated that if the prevailing trend was not addressed with urgency, no contractor in the Region would like to take up dam works in future due to the unpleasant experiences associated with such projects and urged the Minister of Food and Agriculture to personally intervene to ensure the immediate release of their monies.
Most of the people in the communities believe that the objective of providing dams as a viable substitute to rain water for agricultural purposes could be thwarted if the factors responsible for the frustrations dam contractors are currently going through are not urgently dealt with.