Minister for Aviation suspends payment to Contractors

THE MINISTER of Aviation, Cecilia Abena Dapaah has warned that her outfit would not tolerate shoddy work from any contractor. 

She has subsequently suspended payment to the contractor working on the Wa Airstrip in the Upper West Region for doing a shoddy job.

According to her, it would be extremely difficult for the Ministry to make payment to a contractor who would commence work without precaution.

The Minister noted that projects that were carried out during Kwame Nkrumah’s regime are still sturdy, because they were executed well.

The Aviation Minister gave the warning when she visited the Wa airstrip last Thursday to inspect the ongoing renovation exercise being carried out at the airport.

“There is no way that the people of this country will accept any shoddy work from any contractor from now going, and I have said it and indicated that, as a government and the employer, we will make sure we discharge our side of the obligation, and we shall take on every engineer, every contractor who does a shoddy work.”

“…If there is value for money, we all have seen it, if there is no value for money, we have all seen it. We have detected a few areas that the contractor needs to put right… I told him [contractor], he is willing to work on them before his final payment and I am going to insist on that, that we get value for our money,” Ms Dapaah indicated.

The contract for the rehabilitation of the Wa Airstrip, which boasts of two-kilometre runway, was awarded to Skill Link Limited on March 14, 2016, and was to be completed on September 15, 2016.

The rehabilitation was necessitated by the government’s intent to open up the Region for commercial flight services to reduce travel time through air route as a means of boosting commerce and business in the region.

Work on the airstrip included; turning the new Ghana Airports Company building into a passenger terminal building, construction of access road to the airport, fencing works to define the boundaries of the airport, fixing drainage works to control erosion at the airstrip and marking the runway to improve upon visual aids.

Speaking to the Media after her tour, Ms Dapaa said: “The tarmac has been there, they did some work; markings on it but the actual terminal building we have a few issues with that”.

She observed that some minor works have not met the standard to qualify the airstrip for domestic flights and called on the contractor to rework on them before payment.

It emerged that woods were used in some parts of the building to make the facility disability friendly, which the minister insisted must be done using concrete to make it durable.

She said contractors ought to do quality work to be praised by the public in other to attract them more jobs, insisting Ghanaians want value for money.

Ms Dapaa said they will meet with the airline operators to get them to operate on the Wa route, noting that before the airstrip becomes operational, they will make sure the Ghana National Fire Service gets a Fire Station there, “because we don’t want to compromise on safety”.

The Aviation Minister assured that her outfit will collaborate with stakeholders to demolish structures that have encroached on the airstrip lands to ensure the safety of the residents.

The issue of ownership of the said land has been in court after some 300 houses were earmarked for demolishing in August 2013 by the government.

The Upper West Regional Minister, Mr Alhassan Sulemana, expressed joy that the beginning of domestic flights to Wa will boost the region’s economy.

At the Wa Naa’s Palace, a representative of the overlord of the Waala Traditional area, Wanaa Fuseni Seidu Pelpuo IV, Guli Naa Seidu Braimah, called on the government to speed up efforts in making sure the Wa Airstrip is operational to prevent armed robbery attack on road travellers.

Source: Musah Umar Farouq || The Chronicle, Wa

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