The Ministry of Works and Housing is currently indebted to contractors to the tune of GH¢330 million for various works executed as of September 2019.
The amount is expected to shoot up as additional payment certificates from contractors for pre-financed projects that would be submitted to the Ministry by the close of the year.
Commenting on the development, the Parliamentary Committee on Works and Housing feared that compounding the debt exposes the Ministry to a potential risk of being dragged to court for delayed payment.
“The committee has learnt that some cases have already triggered court action as a result of delayed payment. The committee, therefore appeals to the Ministry of Finance to come to the aid of the Ministry to enable it to settle its indebtedness,” the Committee added.
The Parliamentary Committee made its observations when it reviewed the 2020 Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Works and Housing.
The Committee noted that the Ministry is saddled with delay and non-release of budgetary allocations which is also responsible for the indebtedness the Ministry finds itself.
While the Ministry’s planned programmes would require in excess of GH¢1.4 billion to execute, the 2020 budget made an allocation of just GH¢147 million to the Ministry, an amount whose disbursement would typically be delayed.
There is no proper correlation between the planned programmes of the Ministry and the actual budget allocation from the Ministry of Finance according to the Committee.
The acute budget situation, the Committee further learnt, has culminated in a problem resolving approach (fire-fighting) instead of a holistic approach that could fully deal with the various challenges that confront the sector,” the Committee added.
The Committee presided over by Amoakoh Nana, MP for Upper Denkyira East Constituency in the Central Region argued that the planned programmes of the Ministry are very critical to the development agenda of the country especially in the pursuit and attainment of some goals in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The committee, therefore recommends to the Ministry of Finance to ensure that additional funds are made available to support the operations and the planned programmes of the Ministry for the year 2020,” the Committee said.