Contractors undertaking various Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) projects at the University of Energy and Natural Resources in Sunyani have abandoned the projects over the non-payment of their salaries.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Energy and Natural Resources Professor Harrison Dapaah made this known during the 3rd Congregation of the university.
Vice Chancellor of the University of Energy and Natural Resources, Prof. Harrison Dapaah said all GETFund projects had been abandoned as contractors executing the projects had left the sites.
Prof. Dapaah said government has failed to ensure that all projects are completed as promised.
“As a young and growing university, it is worth acknowledging that the school is facing challenges which we stated through the Vice President during our 2nd congregation last year. I want to say that our challenges have not been addressed and this hinders the growth of the University.
Major infrastructural challenges faced by the school including lack of lecture halls for each of the campuses, halls for residence, offices of staff. All GETfund projects have come to a standstill and all contractors have abandoned the project due to the non payment of certificates raised for work done.”
Responding to these concerns however, Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo urged the GETFund to consider other sources of funding in the open market to complete abandoned projects across the country.
“There are a number of GETFund uncompleted projects dotted all over the country. Government has decided that building a classroom and putting all these monies into concrete uncompleted is denying ourselves the use of these facilities and therefore we cannot continue to rely on the GETFund money as it stands today, to complete these projects so we are going to ask GETFund to raise resources from the open market to complete all GETFund projects which are dotted all over the country.”
A few weeks ago the Association of Conscientious Public Sector Contractors who said they had not been paid by the GETFund for work done in schools since 2016, had threatened to embark on a demonstration.
This came after the two-week ultimatum given to the Fund elapsed.
“We have gotten a police permit and police have even gone there to inform them that we intend having a demonstration at the forefront of GETFund offices,” the Secretary of the group, Samuel Ofori Kumah told Citi News.
He also said the contractors were considering legal action.
“We are getting our lawyers to write to GETFund to let them know we intend going to court if they don’t commence payment to our contractors.”
The government has been aware of the indebtedness to contractors with even the President assuring that all debts will be cleared quickly.
During his Media Encounter to mark his first year in office, President Nana Akufo-Addo had said that his government had settled most of the arrears owed contractors which were accrued under the previous administration.
“I’m being urged to pay contractors, I’m paying them. In 2017, nearly one billion cedis of which the government of Ghana provided three hundred odd million and the Road Fund provided some 660 million of the 1.6 billion owed road contractors was cleared. In January this year, we have dispersed 125 million out of the remainder of 600 million to the contractors,” Nana Addo said.
“Additionally, we have paid 826 million of the 1.2 billion loan contracted by the previous administration for which the Road Fund was used as collateral. It is important to note that all these debts were accrued under the previous administration. I will also point out that much of the statutory arrears that we met have been cleared,” the President said.
But the head of the contractors at the time, Daniel Tanoh, responded saying many of the claims that had been submitted for payment had not been honoured.
“GETFund contractors do not agree with what the President said. It’s not true that GETFund has paid even one-fourth of what the President said. For that reason we disagree with what the President said. The Ministry of Finance is supposed to give money to GETFund to pay contractors. As I speak, since July 2016 till date, those that have placed their claims to GETFund have not received their payments,” he said.