SOCO project: Contractors urged to beef up technical capacities

Contractors on the Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion (SOCO) project have been urged to strengthen their technical capacities in executing selected sub-projects.

Madam Shirley Addo, Zonal Engineer for SOCO for the Northern and Oti Regions, who made the call, said contractors must have good foremen on site, quantity surveyors and geodetics engineers for road projects to ensure that sub-projects met required standards.

She noted that sub-projects under the first year of SOCO were faced with quality control problems, adding some sub-projects were demolished at the initial stages due to substandard quality.

Speaking at a review workshop in Tamale, Madam Shirley said the zonal office of the SOCO project had measures in place to deter shoddy work, which was withholding percentages of payment until defects were corrected.

The Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development held a two-day workshop for implementing Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) of the SOC
O project to render account on sub-projects over the course of six months within the first year of implementation.

The meeting was attended by the Municipal, and District Chief Executives, Coordinating Directors, Planners and Engineers of eight MMDAs.

MMDAs present were Tamale Metro, Gushegu, Nanumba North, Karaga, Tatale, Sagnarigu, Saboba and Yendi.

The evaluation presented at the event indicated that some districts executed sub-projects well and on time while others did otherwise.

SOCO is a government of Ghana and World Bank partnership project being implemented in 48 MMDAs in Oti and the five regions in the north to strengthen local institutions towards preventing violent extremism.

Madam Addo said sub-projects in the Tamale Metro and Sagnarigu Municipality delayed in meeting the mark of completion due to their choices of projects, and added that execution at the Sanguli and Tatale Districts was impressive.

Mr Samuel Forson, Tamale Zonal Coordinator for the SOCO project, said contractors must endeav
our to deliver quality work on time with their resources as agreed on in the project contract.

He said the contract did not specify that contractors must rely exclusively on SOCO for construction, stating ‘If your proposal demonstrated resourcefulness in completing the work, payment should be made when construction reaches an advanced stage.’

He said while a number of contractors delivered as tasked, others were working behind scheduled duration due to the complexity of sub-projects.

He noted that the 66 sub-projects being executed in the MMDAs were at 79 per cent completion, out of which 21 were fully completed.

Mr Forson called on MMDAs to assign dedicated staff to the SOCO project, who were available at all times to ensure that quality work was delivered.

He added that in the absence of supervision, some contractors had resorted to manipulative tactics that could disrupt projects.

Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, Northern Regional Minister, in a speech read on his behalf, said reviews were essential in e
nsuring the effectiveness of a project as they served as a valuable mechanism for improving the performance outcomes of a project.

He indicated that the government was committed to initiatives that improved the lives of citizens and gave assurance of the unwavering support of the government for the SOCO project.

Mr Ahmed Yakubu, Sagnarigu Municipal Chief Executive, said contrary to evaluation reports that the Sagnarigu Municipality was behind schedule, sub-projects in the municipality were completed with the exception of an Astroturf.

He said due to limited resources allocated as compared to the cost of sub-projects chosen, the Astroturf was being executed in phases, noting that the first phase was 60% complete.

Mr Wahab Zakari, Development Planning Officer, Tamale Metro, also mentioned that projects in the area were delayed due to their complex nature.

He said, ‘We had problems with design. The initial designs we had were not fit for purpose. So, we had to take time to redesign the projects to fit the n
eeds of the community.’

Source: Ghana News Agency