Minister designate for Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako-Attah, has come under attack by members of the Ghana Chamber of Construction Industry (GhCCI, over his comments that local construction companies do not have the capacity to build good roads in Ghana.
During his vetting in Parliament on February 16, 2021, the Roads Minister designate intimated to the Appointments Committee that the government gave the contracts for the construction of some interchanges in the country to a Portuguese Conglomerate Mota-Engil because local contractors do not have the expertise to execute such projects.
In his view, none of the available local construction firms have both the financial and logistical capacity to undertake big constructions like a four tier overfly currently under construction in Pokuasi.
Amoako-Attah also told the Committee that the country needs funds to complete most of the deplorable roads and that when approved by the august House, he would call for an increase in Toll fees to help support the Road Fund to undertake the construction of most of the road projects in the country.
“If I am given the approval, it’s one of the things I am going to do immediately. There is going to be a proposal to increase the toll rate, and I am going to bring to this house [Parliament] for support,” Amoako-Attah proposed.
But in reacting to the Minister Designate’s comments, the Chief Executive of GhCCI, Emmanuel Cherry told Starr FM that Amoako-Attah’s comments indicate a devaluation of his own capacity as a Minister to handle the roads sector in Ghana.
“In our last press release, we stated categorically that if the minister is given the nod, we should look at local expertise before looking elsewhere. [so] if a minister appears before a vetting committee and says that local contractors do not have the capacity to construct some interchanges, it’s a shame to him,” Cherry said.
He noted that, the local construction firms have the capacity to construct any interchanges in Ghana, emphasizing that, what is lacking is government’s unwillingness to give local contractors tax holidays as they often give to foreign construction firms.
Cherry however expressed his support to the Minister designate’s intention to increase road toll when approved by parliament.
He agreed that increasing the Tolls would help in the improvement of roads and other projects in the country.
“I agree with the Minister-designate for road tolls to be increased. It’s not because of contractors but because of road demands…To me, we already have on our table a proposal should the minister be passed. We’re in 200% agreement with him.
“We are competing on the same small roads and it brings heavy traffic. So as a leader you should think outside the box and we agree with him. If you want the county to open and develop as we envisage in developed countries, the road tolls should be increased a bit. We are yet to determine how much people should pay but I’m sure it will be more than 100% increment,” the GhCCI CEO added.