Accra, Aug.5, GNA - Mr Kwasi Amoako-Attah, Minister of Roads and Highways, says the Ministry of Finance is set to release GH¢800 million to his outfit for onward disbursement to contractors who have their certificates with Government.
He said the list of all qualified contractors would be submitted to the Ministry of Finance by close of Thursday for payment processes to begin next week.
Mr Amoako-Attah said the Ministry had already begun payments to some certified contractors over a month and half ago and that Government would continue to honour its financial commitments to contractors.
The Minister made this known on Thursday during the inauguration of a 13-member Ghana Road Fund Management Board VI in Accra.
The members include: Mr Alexander Kwamina Afenyo Markin, Chairman (President's Nominee); Mr Godfried D. Boateng (President's Nominee); Mrs. Azara Abukari-Haroun (Minister's Nominee); Mr. Prince Benjamin Aboagye (Minister's Nominee); Mr. Kwasi Kwaning-Bosompem (Controller and Accountant General’s Department); Ms. Yvonne Quansah (Ministry of Finance); Mr. Anthony Selom Dzadzra (Ministry of Energy).
Others are; Mr. Frank Raji (Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development); Nana Osei Bonsu (Private Enterprise Federation); Mr John Ashford Afful Jnr (Association of Road Contractors); Mr Lemuel Quarshie Martey (Ghana National Association of Farmers and Fishermen); Alhaji Abdullai Abubakari Yakubu, Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council) and Mr John Kwesi Danso (Ghana Institution of Engineering).
Mr Amoako-Attah said the Board made up of five public sector nominees and eight private sector nominees would be responsible for the management of the fund.
He said the Road Fund was created to finance maintenance work in the Road sector and it received revenue from four main sources namely; fuel levies (accounts for over 94 percent of the Fund’s revenue), road and bridge tolls (generates about Six million Ghana Cedis monthly), vehicle licensing and inspection fees from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and International Transit Vehicle Levies.
The Minister said the Fund was doing quite well until 2016 when the previous NDC Government collateralized it to take a loan of GH¢1.3 billion from the United Bank for Africa (UBA).
He said though Government had paid a substantial amount of the debt and continued to honour the debt servicing schedule, they still did not have access to the Fund.
Mr Amoako-Attah said the previous board took a decision with support from his Ministry and Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance, to renegotiate with a consortium of banks (Ghana Commercial Bank, Fidelity Bank and Ghana Consolidated Bank) to pay off the debt owed to UBA.
He said they entered into a new agreement with the Banks but this time around, the interest rate was reduced from 31 percent to 21 percent.
The Minister said the Banks also gave Government a 12-month moratorium (for a whole year, deductions would only be made for payment of the actual debt and not the interest), which allowed Government to pay outstanding debts to some contractors.
He said averagely, the Fund generated a total of GH¢70.7 million but on quarterly bases, GH¢112 million was paid off to service the debt.
Mr Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin, Chairman of the Board, expressed appreciation to President Nana Addo Dawkwa Akufo-Addo for the confidence reposed in him and his colleagues to manage the Fund.
He said the Board would ensure that the quality of new roads being built and lifespan of the old ones under maintenance were durable and provided the best possible value for money.
“We will also ensure that present and future road works do not suffer undue delays at a substantial cost to the taxpayer. We can accomplish this by making sure that payments for projects that depend on the Fund are made timeously to keep road contractors on their respective sites and schedule. This will require us to engage solutions that accurately forecast inflows into the Road Fund annually and then tie the award of road contracts to the expected inflows,” he said.
He said they would use their collective energies to adopt road engineering solutions that provided cheaper and durable roads, highways and bridges.