Angry Ghanaian contractors are threatening to use the courts to block utilization of all Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) facilities they have constructed.
The angry contractors expressed displeasure at the Akufo-Addo led government for the lies, deceit and insensitivity being displayed concerning payments of monies owed them.
President Akufo-Addo promised to pay all contractors within the first 100 days in office during the 2016 election campaign but after two and half years, the pledge is yet to be fulfilled.
The contractors could not hide their frustration and anger at the President’s failure to pay them despite securing a US$1.5 billion loan in 2018, ostensibly to pay off GETFund debts owed contractors.
“Mr. President, contractors became very happy when you directed GETFund in November 2018 to secure a loan amount of $1.5 billion to pay off GetFund debts owed contractors.”
“We were very excited at the certificate of urgency placed on this loan right from Cabinet to Parliament for approval.”
“However Mr. President, only a few Contractors were paid something little out of a whole lot. We want to ask a simple question: where is the $1.5 billion loan contracted?”
“It is like rubbing salt in our wounds as our creditors have taken a cue from such statements to intensify their demands for payments. They now afford us no privacy and no respite at all.”
The contractors reminded the President of the devastating effect of his insensitivity to the private sector.
These, they said, have caused some members to lose their properties and are humiliated by suppliers and in some cases deaths.
These sentiments and heartbreaking revelations were contained in a joint statement signed by Mr. Prosper Y. Ledi, President, Association of Building & Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana (ABCECG) and Mr. Bernard Azumah, Chairman, Association of Conscientious Public Sector Contractors (ACPSC) and read at a press conference in Accra.
The full text of the statement read at the press conference is reproduced below;
PRESS CONFERENCE HELD BY THE ASSOCIATION OF BUILDING & CIVIL ENGINEERING CONTRACTORS OF GHANA (ABCECG) IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE ASSOCIATION OF CONCIENTIOUS PUBLIC SECTOR CONTRACTORS ON TUESDAY 11TH JUNE, 2019 AT THE INTL. PRESS CENTER, ACCRA
The Invited Media Houses here present, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, all Protocols observed. Let me first of all salute and to welcome you all to this all very important devastated Contractors Press Conference. For it is very heartwarming and gratifying that as the Fourth Estate of Government, you always avail yourselves when the need arises to contribute your quota towards the development of our dear Nation.
Your conscionable enterprise in the service of Mother Ghana will not go unremarked by posterity; it will certainly be accorded an enviable place in the annals of our history as a nation.
Our gathering here today is simple and straight forward in respect of the Government of Ghana ”ROBBING CONTRACTORS”, vis – a -vis our harrowing plight. You will recall we have engaged you a number of times in the past, when we felt the need to address the Government and the relevant Ministries and state institutions with whom we have custom over their failure to pay us for work done. As a matter of fact, there is no amelioration of our suffering; rather our conditions get worsening by each passing day!
We are not affiliated to any political party and do not intend to change our stance as we are committed to work for the improvement of the country’s infrastructure irrespective of whichever Government happens to be in power.
We are simple and honest Ghanaian business men and women who love our beloved country and are poised to partnering any government of the day in rendering our good services to help build mother Ghana and also to earn a living.
Mr. President hitherto, the happy, lovely and cohesive homes of Contractors are falling apart due to the perennial delayed payments for works done.
The government’s indebtedness to Contractors has become an albatross on our neck so heavy that Contractors financial strengths and businesses are almost grinding on their feeble knees. Contractors have now become an anathema to Financial Institutions as well as material Suppliers due to the government indebtedness to us.
Mr. President, most of our Members owe the banks and the fact that we borrowed the money to build the schools, and other infrastructure edifices for the government for which we have not been paid does not extricate or absolve us from our debt obligations.
Mr. President, the Banks and Material Suppliers are relentlessly hounding Contractors to their early graves if you care to know. Indeed, some of our Members have fallen ill; some have died miserably as beggars because they could not afford the cure for their ailments.
Others also have lost their properties used as collateral to the Banks and have left them demented and prowling around like wraiths. We have been rendered financially insolvent and incapable of providing for our families. Mr. President why?
Mr. President, have you suddenly lost your human right to fight as an advocate of the voiceless on your ascension to the highest seat of government so soon?
Mr. President, Contractors became very happy when you directed Ghana Educational Trust Fund (GETFUND) in November 2018 to secure a loan amount of $1.5Billion ostensibly to pay off GETfund debts owed Contractors among other things. We were very excited to the speed of certificate of urgency placed on this very loan right from Cabinet to Parliament for approval.
However Mr. President, you will be sad to know that only a few Contractors were paid something little out of a whole lot. We want to ask a simple question: where is the $1.5Billion loan contracted? It is like rubbing salt in our wounds as our creditors have taken a cue from such statements to intensify their demand for payment and afford us no privacy and no respite at all.
Meanwhile, the government is happily utilizing our built-facilities and claiming all credit and the applause to that effect but left the Contractors indebted to Banks and Suppliers.
This cannot be right! Even the government’s flagship programmes of free Senior High School was made possible because of our selfless and patriotic contribution as partners in development but has now become beggars of our own monies worked for to pay back to us. Albeit with huge losses in interest payments to our creditors.
Mr. President, do not let us think or believe that government has deliberately turned a deaf ear to our predicaments which we hardly doubt that the President we know will treat his own this way.
But if so, we will be compelled to flex our muscles as indispensable stakeholders in the development of our nation and without whose contribution progress would stall. We are demanding payment from the government through GETFUND, CMB and ROAD FUND for the projects executed and certified as a matter of urgency.
What more good will can any Administration expect from very respectful Contractors like us?
Mr. President, we are by this press conference serving notice to government that you have promised payments to Contractors in your first hundred days of assuming office but Contractors have been charitable with you for two and half years in your administration and that if their due and certified payments are not paid by the end of July, 2019, Contractors and Artisans in Ghana will have no choice than to call off the bluff of the Minister of Education; Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh and the GETFUND Administrator; Mr. Richard Boadu to take over, block access and lock up all the school facilities and other infrastructure built by the affected Contractors.
A word to the wise is always enough. It is our belief that our listening President will have a soft ear to our pleadings and ensure that we are duly paid to ease our suffering.
Thanks for your attention and for coming.
God bless our homeland Ghana and make it great and strong.
Mr. Prosper Y. Ledi Mr. Bernard Azumah
President: – ABCECG Chairman: – ACPSC