Minister-Designate for Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako Atta, has told the Appointments Committee of Parliament that the reason many road contractors remained unpaid through the first term of the Akufo-Addo government was because of the coronavirus disease.
According to him, the pandemic has negatively affected the government’s revenue mobilization making it impossible to pay arrears owed contractors.
“Mr. Chairman, I will not sit down here and say that all contractors have been paid on schedule …efforts are being made as and when monies are released to the Ministry. But Mr. Chairman, we should not lose sight of the fact of the difficulties we all went through as a government and as a nation due to Covid-19 pandemic,” he said in his strange excuse for a non-payment of outstanding arrears to contractors long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020.
Immediately Akufo-Addo became President in January 2017, he put a freeze on road contracts explaining the government was to re-sanitize the contracts.
As part of the revelations in the undercover investigative piece, “Number 12” by Anas Aremeyaw Anas, disgraced former President of the Ghana Football Association, Kwesi Nyantakyi, had been caught on video revealing that the Akufo-Addo government had decided to frustrate the so-called “NDC contractors.”
“As for the NDC contractors, their money will rot,” Nynatakyi had declared while soliciting for an 8million dollar bribe that he said he was going to share with President Akufo-Addo and Vice President Bawumia.
And true to Nyantakyi’s declaration, the so-called NDC contractors had remained unpaid until in 2019, a year before the 2020 elections, the government announced it was releasing money to pay them after it had come under pressure from communities unhappy about the unfinished state of various road projects.
When he was confronted with the discrimination against the so-called NDC contractors by the government in the payment of arrears. Kwasi Amoako Atta told the Appointments Committee that it is not the case and that the Road Fund is being managed by responsible people.
On the state of the country’s road network, Kwasi Amoako Atta who was Roads Minister throughout the first four years of the Akufo-Addo government admitted that only 39% of the country’s 80,000 km road network is in good shape.
The remaining 61%, he said, needs critical attention.