The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah has expressed grave concerns at the level of deterioration of most Highway roads in the region, indicating that the unfortunate situation is what had accounted for the crash of the local economic activities of the region.
The minister has also described as unfortunate how especially the Eastern and Ashanti Regions have been denied its fair share of roads construction in the past eight years, and therefore, maintained his administration will make sure things are done right.
“There have been massive deterioration of roads; only 49 percent of highway roads are in good shape as of now. At the time we were leaving office, the region had about 90 percent of its highway roads in better condition but it has deteriorated to 49 percent and this to us is really bad and incomprehensible”, Mr. Osei-Mensah lamented.
The Regional Minister made those statements when the Ashanti branch Executives of Road Contractors of Ghana paid a courtesy call on him at his office. The purposes of the visit were among others welcome the minister and his deputy to the region and also congratulate them for assuming their respective positions.
Some of the concerns raised by the association were; delays in signing certificates from the office of the minister and neglect in the past by the previous regime.
They also raised concerns about the ineffectiveness in the Tendering process in awarding contracts as most ‘unqualified’ people through the help of some big hands in the past won contracts through the backdoor.
According to the branch chairman of the Contractors Association Emmanuel Boateng, their equipment have been gathering dusts for the past eight years since they have been denied contracts. “Interestingly, those who win the contracts through the backdoors have had to rely on them for their equipment before they could do the work,” the chairman disclosed.
To them, it remains important that the new administration rely on them on road projects in the region “because we have the experience and the requisite equipment to carry out any project in the country…we have done this job for several years and we understand the terrain very well so we pray that your administration relies on us to help.”
They were confident that Mr. Simon Osei-Mensah and his deputy will ensure that the proper laid down procedures are followed in awarding contracts, and more importantly help save money for the country. The association further called for efficient coordination between them and the Regional Coordinating Council, promising to provide the needed advice to the minister to make his administration effective and efficient.
Responding to the concerns of the association,
Mr. Osei-Mensah explained that what have delayed the signing of certificates by him was due to the fact that “ I have to be extra careful and also to ensure due diligence in what I do especially with matters of contracts signings. I came to meet heap-pile of certificates and I needed not to rush in doing things so to ensure what I sign are the true reflection on what is on the ground.”
“I’ve made it a point to visit all sites to be convinced before I append my signature on any certificates…this is also to allow me the opportunity to know each roads of the region,” the minister added, stressing “what I want to do this time is that we prioritize the roads we want to do which will serve the total benefit of the region and not building roads for the sake of it.”
He expressed disappointment about the total neglect of roads in the region, adding that his tenure will see massive improvement in the road sector in the region. Simon Osei-Mensah then called for strong partnership with the association especially in the area of advice, to make his regime beneficial to all.