The Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana (ABCCG) has called on the Procurement Board to check what it described as the blatant abuse of the procurement law by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
It said the Act was not being strictly adhered to as most of MDAs were not complying with open tendering as the law prescribed, but rather resorted to selective tendering only.
At the opening of the second national annual general meeting of the ABCCG in Kumasi last Thursday, the president of the association, Mr Samuel Obeng, alleged that some officials were manipulating the system in favour of their preferred contractors.
The AGM was on the theme: “Sustaining the Building Construction Industry” and was attended by delegates from all the regions of the country.
Mr Obeng said the association was not against foreigners entering the industry but the practice of registering their business as local contractors to compete for small projects like KVIPs and classroom buildings at the district level was distasteful.
Mr Obeng called for an amendment to the Investment Code to raise the $10,000 or $50,000 fee which a foreigner must respectively pay to be able to enter into a joint venture with a Ghanaian company or operate individually.
The ABCCG president expressed concern about the way wood products were used on building projects and said this was a threat to the country's forests.
He, therefore, suggested the use of metal frames to reduce wood consumption. He also complained about the delay in payment of completed projects and called on the government to do something about it.
In an address read on his behalf by Mr E. A. Owusu-Ansah, the Ashanti Regional Minister, the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Saddique, said the government had over the years committed huge sums of money to the construction of many projects.
“Yet you will agree with me that members of your association, as service providers faced with low capacity in skills, absence of technical personnel in contract management, non-availability of plant and equipment, high cost of construction, have found it difficult to live up to expectation, often cutting corners leading to shoddy work,” he said.
Alhaji Saddique indicated that the government had to continue to use huge sums of money to undertake rehabilitation works as a result of the shoddy work.
He challenged the local contractors to reorganise themselves to be able to compete outside the country.
The minister suggested the establishment of joint ventures and mergers by member companies and firms so that they could pool resources to establish formidable companies.
Again, the minister called for the establishments of management boards for limited liability companies.
Alhaji Saddique disclosed that his ministry had programmed to complete the revision of the existing Government of Ghana Conditions of Contract (PINK FORM) to bring it to the modern standards and terms to address the numerous shortcomings in the construction industry.
He assured the association that the government was taking steps to minimise the number of days necessary to honour payment certificates.
The Asamponghene, Nana Asampong Boakye III, who represented the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, reiterated the Asantehene's concern over the construction of houses in water courses and called on chiefs and the local authorities to find a solution to the problem.
Story by Kwame Asare Boadu,