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04 January 2017

GETFund contractors demand payment of outstanding debts

getfundContractors working on Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) projects across the country have given the government up to today (Wednesday) to pay all outstanding debts owed them or face their wrath.

The contractors have threatened to lock up schools and buildings they pre-financed, as well as embark on a demonstration if the government fails to heed to their concerns.

In the early hours of yesterday, some of the contractors picketed at the Ministry of Finance, the Controller and Accountant- General’s Department (CAGD) and the Head Office of the GETFund to demand the payment of outstanding debts amounting to about GH¢300 million.

But the Ministry of Finance said the government had already paid GH¢110 million out of its indebtedness to the GETFund, while an additional GH¢106 million would be released for disbursement to the contractors today.

However, the contractors expressed fear and worry over the huge outstanding debts, with the belief that the money might take a long time before it was paid when the new government took full charge of the administration of the country.

Pressure from banks

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Chairman of the Contractors of GETFund Association, Mr Emmanuel Asomah, said members were under serious pressure from their bankers and creditors.

“Since we took loans from banks to finance the various projects, our bankers are on our neck and some of our members have even gone into hiding, while one passed on recently as a result of the pressure,” he said.

He indicated that the money should have been paid in July 2016, saying the situation had made its members find it difficult to operate effectively.

“We are not going to rest until we see that all the money has been paid to the GETFund for disbursement to all our members,” he said.

As of the time the Daily Graphic team visited the premises of GETFund, the executives of the fund and the contractors were in a crunch meeting to find an amicable solution.

Further checks also revealed that when the executive of the contractors’ association sent a petition to the CAGD, their demands were not heeded to.

GETFund committed

Briefing the media after the crunch meeting, the Deputy Administrator of the GETFund, Mr Stephen Baffoe, said the GETFund was committed to ensuring that all the money owed the contractors was paid promptly.

He said the management of the GETFund was working hand in hand with the CAGD and the Ministry of Finance to pay the rest of the money to the contractors.

“Even though some money has been paid into our accounts for disbursement, we are still engaging with the CAGD to ensure that the rest of the money is paid on time,” he said.

Assurance

Mr Baffoe dismissed claims that due to the change in government, the money owed the contractors might delay.

He assured the contractors that all the money owed them would be paid on time because there was documentation to that effect.

“There are concerns and apprehension on the part of some of the contractors to the effect that due to the change in government, their money may delay. But I want to assure them that the workings of the state still remain and can never change in any way,” he said.

He pleaded with the contractors not to lock up the schools they had built, as they had threatened, since their concerns were being treated with dispatch.

Source: Graphic.com.gh

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