Accra, April 14, GNA- Dr Richard Anane, Minister of Roads and Transport on Thursday warned that agencies, consultants and contractors would be taken to task for lapses in the execution of all road projects.
He said: "Governments would no longer entertain the arms-length attitude of the road agencies to project executions after conclusion of the procurement of works and services".
Speaking at the opening of a two-day Annual Management Conference of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) in Accra, Dr Anane said government "expects that projects are executed to specifications and schedule. Frivolous time extensions and cost-runs shall not be entertained". The conference had the theme:" Improving Negotiation and Income-Generating Skills for Enhanced Performance in Trunk Road Development and Management", and it is being attended by 50 regional directors and managers of the Authority.
During the conference, participants would review GHA's performance for 2003, and devise the necessary measures to enable the Authority to improve upon its performances in 2004.
Participants would also discuss how to improve upon the negotiating and income-generating capacities of the Authority to help in securing competitive rates for the service of consultants and road contractors. The Authority needed to improve upon its negotiating skills to enable it to achieve value for money in all contracts negotiations.
Dr Anane said the GHA carries a heavy responsibility with the reconstruction and maintenance of the nation's 13,667-kilometer trunk roads, which constitute about 39 per cent of the country's total road network.
He said this heavy responsibility, required the exercise of due diligence, circumspection, transparency and honesty in the prosecution and execution of all trunk road development and maintenance projects. He, therefore, reminded the managers and directors of GHA of the significant proportion of the tax payers' money and the funds from development partners, committed to the road sector, and advised them to ensure that they deliver their set targets, and at optimal cost to the tax payer.
The Minister said the road sector was one of the five main priority areas that government had outlined in its infrastructure development and that the sector Ministry was among the five key Ministries with the responsibility of achieving objectives outlined in the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy document.
He said the Ministry has therefore, prioritised activities such as the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the road network system to ensure enhanced access to markets through improved farm/feeder roads linking to trunk roads and urban markets.
Dr Anane tasked the GHA to submit an urgent programme that would help in the effective and efficient management of exiting axle weigh stations, particularly that of Takoradi and Tema to help halt the fast deterioration of the network.
Mr Eric Oduro-Konadu, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the GHA said in 2003, the Authority completed five out of 24 ongoing projects, including roads and bridges.
He said four of the bridges and a 11.5 kilometre Bunso-Anyinam Road were all constructed under the project making a total of 139 kilometres of trunk roads to be reconstructed.
On road maintenance, Mr Oduro-Konadu said 685-kilometer roads as well as 19 drainage structures were completed by the end of the year. He said the GHA undertook routine maintenance activities at the cost of 68.67 billion cedis on 9,369 kms of roads, representing 121.4 percent of the planned 11,973 kilometres for the year under review. He pledged management's efforts to ensure that road inspections and project supervision activities would be intensified.
Mr Oduro-Konadu said local contractors would be encouraged to employ competent and skilled staff and offer them the necessary training to improve upon their technical and managerial competencies.
He however, mentioned that, budgetary constraints, inadequate remuneration and unattractive service conditions of staff as the main de-motivating factors of productivity and a big challenge to efforts of recruiting and retaining staff.