22.03.2005 General News

Procurement of goods for road sector must be according guidelines - Anane

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Accra, March 22, GNA - Chief Executives in the road sector were on Tuesday reminded of their responsibility to ensure that procurement of goods for road contracts were done strictly according to guidelines.

"Government will hold entity heads (Chief Executives) responsible for any misconduct of schedule officers with regard to procurement of goods, services and work," Dr Richard Anane, Minister of Road Transport, said at the opening of a three-day annual Management Conference of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) in Accra.

"Entity heads must, therefore, properly supervise the procurement activities of schedule officers," he said.

The conference aimed at reviewing the performance of GHA during last year and strategizing on how to improve on their service delivery in the ensuing years, is under the theme: "Towards Enhanced Management of Trunk Roads Through the Financial Administration Laws."

It has attracted heads of departments in the road sector, engineers and partners from the National Road Safety Commission.

Dr Anane said the three financial laws - Public Procurement Act, Financial Act and Internal Audit Agency - had come to streamline procurement, financial practices and enhance transparency and accountability in the Public Sector.

He told the conference that the Government attached great importance to the road sector infrastructure development and would pursue its policies with vigour and commitment.

The Minister said the Government would support the GHA to complete preparatory works on 13 new trunk road development projects to ensure that they were launched very soon.

The Minister mentioned some of the projects as the Tetteh Quarshie - Madina Road; Madina - Pantang Phase II; Bole - Bamboi; Achimota - Ofankor and Nsawam -Apedwa.

The rest are Sogakope - Akatsi; Akatsi - Aflao; Techiman - Kintampo; Brewaniase - Damanko; Kumasi - Techiman Phase II and Brekum - Sampa Phase II.

Dr Anane said Government would initiate the reconstruction of the Motorway Extension to Mallam.

He said the Government was seriously engaged in removing bottlenecks created by the conveyance of traffic from Spintex Road at the Tetteh-Quarshie Interchange.

"Government is not oblivious of frustrations currently visited unto commuters at the Spintex Junction and the North Bound ends of the Tetteh-Quarshie Interchange during the peak periods of the day.

"Indeed, the Ministry is seriously evaluating a number of options with relevant agencies to help ease the current difficulties at these ends."

On the activities of the GHA in 2004, the Minister commended them for their sterling performance despite constraints.

He challenged GHA to set up a pool of skills to offer consultancy services and compete with others to secure cost effective and competitive project rates for the nation.

Dr Anane recalled that during the early 1970s and 1980s, GHA implemented 100 per cent road projects but the Authority now out-sources over 90 per cent of works.

Consequently, he said, many skilled and unskilled staff of the GHA had little or virtually no work to do.

"Financial constraints have not allowed the successful redeployment of these idle hands. I will urge the Management to come out with innovative measures to help address this long standing problem."

Notwithstanding this, Dr Anane urged the conference to discuss how best to engage some of these idle hands in productive work to enhance the performance of GHA in the road sector.

Mr Eric Oduro-Konadu, Chief Executive of GHA, said they spent 141.86 billion cedis on routine maintenance works on 13,074 kilometres of road.

He said the Mobile Maintenance and Bridge Maintenance units were working on sections of the Kumasi - Techiman - Kintampo road as well as the Techiman -Wenchi road while 31 bridges were completed. He said GHA was faced with inadequate budgetary allocation, low remuneration and unattractive service conditions.

"Retaining some crucial staff and inadequate supply of quarry products affect progress on periodic and upgrading works," he said. Mr Oduro-Konadu pledged that the GHA would redouble it efforts to intensify their road inspections and project supervision activities to ensure that projects were executed to specification and on time.

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