Koforidua, Jan. 12, GNA - Dr Richard Winfred Anane, Minister of Road Transport, has called on the Department of Feeder Roads to improve on their internal monitoring systems to achieve value for money. He asked the Department to develop healthy and collaborative relationship with contractors, solve problems on contracts promptly, monitoring of programmes and projects under implementation for early execution.
The call was made in a keynote address read on his behalf by the Deputy Sector Minister, Mr Magnus Opare Asamoah, at a two-day Annual Management Seminar of the Department of Feeder Roads at Koforidua on Thursday.
The seminar was under the theme: "Ensuring effective monitoring, technical and financial management of contracts."
Dr Anane said the Ministry had noted some shortcomings with managements of road agencies including inadequate supervision, departure from envisioned specifications, gaps in documentation and inadequate co-ordination between regional and district teams for effective supervision and monitoring.
He also expressed concern about "evidence of a crass dearth in negotiating capability" which he said made him wonder whether the situation was from "a real dearth in negotiating capacity or from absence of patriotism."
Dr Anane said the situation compelled the establishment of a Ministerial Monitoring team which brought up "a great deal of observations and revelations" that resulted in a Ministerial directive for training in negotiating capacity skills for senior staff of the agencies.
He said the training had impacted positively on their delivery and was optimistic the seminar would take cognizance of the lessons garnered from the Ministerial actions.
On its search for cost effective means towards achieving infrastructural goals, Dr Anane commended the Department for venturing into the use of Otta Sealing, based on using screened natural gravel for the surfacing of medium to highly trafficked feeder roads and urged it to keep it up.
On financial management, Dr Anane asked the Department to ensure that its book-keeping were done according to the financial controls of the new Financial Administration Regulations to ensure integrity in the process since any departure had "very grave consequences." Mr Martin Mensah, Director of the Department, in a report on the performance of the Department said an inventory data of the feeder roads national network taken between 2004 and 2005 indicated that there were 41,500 kilometres.
He said out of the number, 26,000 kilometres were developed to be motorable during the rainy seasons, 6,800 kilometres partially rehabilitated and the remaining 8,700 kilometres existed mainly as tracks and were motorable only during the dry seasons.
Mr Mensah said by the end of 2005, tarring of feeder roads increased from 872 kilometres to 1,410 kilometres, 70 bridges were constructed with support from the Dutch Government, Department for International Development (DFID) and the Japanese International Co-operation Association (JICA).
He said the Ministry had directed the Department to be responsible for the tarring of town roads other than the regional and district capitals and therefore appealed for funds to enable it undertake proper inventory of these roads to enable it plan, quantify the drainage and execute the project.