The construction sector in Ghana is contributing about 14.2 per cent to Gross Domestic Product according to the Vice Chair of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI)'s Construction Sector, Mr Eric Defor.
This was made known at a development forum at the Trade Fair site in La. The forum focused on key agenda such as a presentation on outcomes of a maiden study tour in Rwanda as well as a look at legislation on interests on delayed payments to contractors.
Mr Rockson Kwesi Dogbegah, Chairman of the AGI Construction Sector said that to support the legislation on delayed payment, BUSAC Fund, DANIDA and other stakeholders are supporting an advocacy process on legislation for delayed payments. He also pointed out that there have been advocacy from clients for some form of insurance, bonds with banks and so on.
In an interview with the media, Mr Eric Defor, Vice Chair for the AGI Construction sector, said that the biggest challenge in the construction sector in Ghana is delays in payment for services they render. "It is not easy going through the normal legal system to get compensation for delayed payments, now we have noticed that some contract documents are deleting interests in delayed payment clauses . In order to guide public officials who go into contracts and not commit to adhering to the conditions of the contract, we think a separate law in relation to interest on delayed payment must be enacted".
He said it will make clients of contractors accountable rather than use their discretion when there is a default in payment. This will also mean that contractors who default in payments to banks will be protected.
Mr Defor said the tour also looked at how Rwanda was managing their construction sector. He said that most of their processes were automated which reduces human contact and increases, transparency, accountability and value for money. He said that Ghana needs to move towards that due to the immense contribution it is making to the economy and which could affect progress of the country if challenged.
To address this challenge, data was collected from about 30 contractors, according to Dr Kenneth Hyiamann, Executive Secretary of CIDF-GH, on delayed payment causes and its effects on businesses and the economy. He said that among the respondents, there is an outstanding of 56 million USD in delayed payments.
Some of the effects that were identified was the increase in interests on loans, constraint in bit security for subsequent projects as well as difficulty in paying sub-contractors on time. It also affected the ability to meet statutory obligations like tax payment.
Taking a look at the causes of delayed payments, Dr. Hyiamann said that four main sources were identified that is contractors, consultants, clients and nature of contracts. It emerged that lack of proper financial management affects the ability to pay contractors on time. Sometimes, errors on the part of contractors and consultants set limitations on prompt payments.
A draft bill, he said, has been developed for stakeholders and members and will be made available for the media and public on the 13th of August, 2018.
Dr Hyiamann added that 11 countries have made progress in legislation on prompt payment. Countries such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Australia have Acts that combat late payments in commercial activities. Again countries such as New Zealand and Singapore have an Act addressing construction contracts and late payments.
Members called for clear punitive measures and examples from leadership at the highest level to show they are law abiding in order to make members and clients feel accountable.
In a summary on the tour, members expressed satisfaction on the sanitation success of Rwanda, commenting on how clean their towns and cities were as well as how well Rwandans adhered to their laws. This they said have contributed to the country earning recognition as one of the cleanest countries in the world.
Mr Michael Bortei Doku of the Ghana Institute of Architects (GhIA) said despite the fact that Rwanda did not have a lot of resources, they have managed what they produce locally to improve their lifestyle and remain self reliant.
He pointed out that they have an accountability system known as vertical accountability where performance targets were agreed upon in institutions to ensure things were done right.
Key strategies such as ban on plastics and street hawking have also contributed to ensuring proper sanitation.
The event was attended by the Executive Secretary of the CIDF-GH, Mr Alfred Kwasi Opoku from the Ghana Institute of Planners, Mr Samuel Amegayibor from Ghana Real Estate Association (GREDA), Mr Kofi Twum Boafo from the Ministry of Business Development and Mr David Quartey from the Chartered Institute of Builders, others stakeholders and the media.