A GNA feature by Maxwell Awumah
Hohoe (V/R), April 6 GNA - The Government's programme to upgrade Senior Secondary Schools (SSS) in some districts in the Volta Region is being stalled by some contractors, who having collected their mobilization fees, abandoned their sites leaving behind skeleton workforces. Government has since 2004 committed about 31 billion cedis towards the execution of such projects.
Some of the affected schools are the Bueman SSS in Jasikan District at a cost 16.5-billion cedis; Kadjebi-Asato SSS, Kadjebi District, 18.5-billion cedis; Krachi SSS in the Krachi-West District, 18-billion cedis and Adidome SSS in the North Tongu District, 18-billion cedis. A visit by the GNA to the some schools covered in the First Phase of the programme in the Volta Region revealed that only nine out of about 38 different contractors undertaking the projects were on site out of which only three had completed their projects on schedule. Companies, which have successfully completed their projects, are Defiat Development Group Limited; Hope Kus Company Limited and Kimportex Limited.
At the Bueman Secondary School the Assembly hall project being executed by Deltafa Limited is 75 per cent complete while the Boy's dormitory block being undertaken by Lorris Contract Works is at the lintel level.
The Environmental Development Group Limited, Edward Brown Limited and Cabmocos Contract Limited are other firms working on different projects at the Krachi SSS where work is at various levels of completion. Others at Kadjebi-Asato are; Cotopaxi Limited, Am-Amaco, Obimpeh Contract Works and Stamek Company Limited are also executing projects at the Kadjebi-Asato SSS.
Apart from the Kadjebi project, which is about 80 per cent complete, those of Bueman and Kete-Krachi were between 42 per cent to 48 per cent complete raising doubts about the contractors ability to measure up to the contract in accordance with Government's intention.
Conspicuously absent from project sites were consultants and architects supervising and monitoring the contracts and thus further compounding the situation.
A disappointed Headmaster of one of the schools said: "Our hope is fizzling out; our bright light is becoming dim." The poor attitude to work had affected the admission of fresh students to these schools as it was envisaged that the projects would have been completed in time to cater for the proposed large enrolment quotas given to the affected schools by the Ministry of Education and Sports. The Kete-Krachi SSS, for instance had increased its intake from 320 to more than 600 fresh students thereby putting unnecessary pressure on the inadequate facilities.
Since the successful implementation of the First Phase of the project would be replicated in subsequent phases, it would be advisable that electrical works and plumbing sub-contracts be given to the main contractors to avoid the unnecessary delays and uncoordinated activities.
The authorizing Ministry should sanction all non-performing contractors to serve as deterrent to others as the Second Phase is about taking off, when the First Phase is still on stream.
The untoward attitude of these contractors should not be left unpunished; otherwise the Government's programme of Internet connectivity of all towns with Senior Secondary Schools and Teacher Training Colleges would remain an illusion if basic infrastructure, which should serve as basis for a take-off, could not be provided.