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29.08.2002 General News

Gov't to spend C2.6 trillion on infrastructure

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Government is to spend an amount of 2.6 trillion cedis for infrastructure development throughout the country this year. Out of the amount, 604 billion cedis would be expended on projects in the road sector alone.

Vice-President Alhaji Aliu Mahama announced this at the opening of a two-day annual seminar for the Ghana Institution of Surveyors (Quantity Surveying Division) in Accra on Wednesday.

The seminar on the theme: "Procurement Procedures And Cost Management of Civil Engineering Works-The Case of the Road Sector" is being attended by Engineers, Architects, Planners, Surveyors, Valuers, contractors and policy makers.

It would enable participants to share experiences as to how to use their expertise to achieve the optimum use of resources. Alhaji Mahama said such huge investment on infrastructure required putting in place adequate planning and procurement procedures to ensure that services were optimally managed to cut down cost to the advantage of the nation.

He said in the absence of a detailed public procurement law the government had continued to follow to the letter procedures that were introduced by the country's development partners.

He, however, gave the assurance that the public procurement bill, which is currently before Cabinet, would soon be sent to Parliament for approval into law.

Vice-President Mahama was unhappy with packaging of works and assignments in the country, but expressed hope that the new bill on procurement, which sets thresholds for stakeholders would resolve some of the problems.

He said contract for projects would now strictly be awarded on competence of contractors, saying the period where personal contacts alone were enough to secure contract jobs were over.

"But I plead with all of you in the built-environment to inject some discipline and resolve into this exercise to assist in the capacity building of local contracts."

He asked the Institute to be concerned with the capacity development of professionals and consultants as well as work towards building international networks to share information and ideas in the industry.

Vice-President Mahama also expressed concern with cost management documents that are in use, tasking the Institute to devise means of reviewing such documents periodically to reflect the country's aspirations and local circumstances.

He tasked the participants to come out with recommendations in three main areas of cost management namely human entity, documentation and indiscipline and corruption.

Vice-President announced that the quantity surveyor would be given representation at the highest level of the Central Tender Review Board and also disclosed that government had taken a firm stand on nominating members of the institution into the district assemblies.

Dr. Richard Anane, Minister of Roads and Transport said the ultimate objective of government was to improve, in the medium term, the current condition of the country's 50,000 Kilometres road network, of which 56 per cent were in poor condition.

According to him, the road programme, to be implemented over a four-year period would require a financial outlay of two billion dollars. Its main focus would be to mobilise and sustain road maintenance, solicit support from the development partners and facilitate private capital to partake in road development works, he said.

Dr Anane reiterated government commitment to ensuring transparency in procurement process for works and services and ensuring cost management procedures to achieve lower rates of road construction per unit length as obtained in the neighbouring countries.

Mr B.A, Neequaye, President (GHIS) said the Institution was proposing the formation of a consultative council of the built environment to enable it use its vast knowledge to assist national issues of infrastructure, urban settlement and the environment, among others.

He expressed the hope that the council, which would be made up of Engineers, Architects, Planners and Surveyors would harness their efforts to fight issues of degradation, energy and liquid and solid waste to enable the country move forward technologically.

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