Works and Housing Minister Samuel Atta Akyea's argument that local contractors are to blame for shoddy works has been rejected as shoddy by the Progressive Road Contractors Association.
The Association's chairman Hammond Larbi is convinced the dishing out of contracts to political cronies is rather to blame for the poor work on the country's roads.
Samuel Atta Akyea stoked debate at Engineering Council last Wednesday remarking that “if you hire Ghanaian engineers, they wouldn’t want to do the work right. They cut corners, they inflate figures.”
“For the engineer, who is outside, it is a legacy, so that your name is permanently written… but for the Ghanaian engineer, it’s not like that. He is trying to look at situations to make good money and leaving us a shoddy job.”
But Mr. Larbi believes poor road works is because political contractors are pushing professional contractors out of business.
He said after every change of power, new companies suddenly spring up claiming to be contractors.
He asked for checks at the Registrar-General's department to find out "how many contractors registered this year under the new regime?
Hammond Larbi said there are contractors rated A1 "who do not even own a roller".
"We know all these things," he said and tasked the minister to consult the Research Department of the ministry.
He also pointed out government's undue delay in the payment of contractors is also responsible for the poor work.
Sometimes it can take two years for a contractor to be paid for work which is in progress, he lamented and explained that by the time he returns to the site to continue with work, the weather may have caused some damage to the work.
The local contractor may then have to use his own money to try and correct the defects before continuing with the construction, Larbi explained.
If the corrections are improperly done, the end product is shoddy, he said.
According to him, foreign contractors cannot be the solution because apart from killing local businesses, it also results in the depreciation of Ghana's currency.
"Look at where our cedi has reached? It is because too many contracts are given to foreigners," he asserted.