This is a guest blog post by George Amoh. The post has been adapted for the Open Contracting blog by Sophia Donolo.
The monitoring of roads in Ghana is crucial to the upkeep of thousands of people’s means of travel and trade. That is why the Ghana Contract Monitoring Group (GCMG), along with other establishments, recruited several potential monitors and provided them with thorough training in order to ensure effective monitoring of the contracts to build and repair road.
WHAT IS THE GHANA CONTRACTS MONITORING GROUP
The Ghana Contracts Monitoring Group is a coalition made up of membership from the Public Sector, Private Sector and Civil Society in Ghana that seek to track public contracts awards. This includes contracts for the construction of roads, buildings, mineral concessions, and more. The GCMG effectively started operating, focusing mainly on roads, in January, 2012.
The GCMG started off with the recruitment of a consultant to conduct an ex-post evaluation of George Walker Bush Motorway, a United States funded road constructed in Accra. It received much commendation from both local and international observers and experts due to the immense impact the road had on people’s lives within the community. People could now travel to places that were previously hard to access, providing an easier means of travel and opening up many windows of opportunity for citizens countrywide. The consultant was to use the ex-post evaluation report as a guide to develop a citizen friendly monitoring tool in which monitors can check up on roads in ways that are more practical to them.
After recruiting the proper consultant and implementing a monitoring tool, the GCMG then made a number of visits to the Ministry of Roads & Highways to seek their collaboration. Effective monitoring means effective implementation and upkeep, which was made possible through the Ministry’s actions. The Ministry was well aware that progress in the implementation of road monitors was important and needed as soon as possible
They then authorized its main agencies, the Ghana Highway Authority and the Department of Urban Roads, to give the GCMG all the assistance it may need to carry out its monitoring exercise. With the assistance of the Ministry the La-Teshie Road in Accra and the Assin Praso-Bekwai Road in the Central and Ashanti region could now be effectively monitored by citizens who are familiar with and often use such roads.
A GCMG Meeting with the Chief Director of the Ministry of Roads
TRAINING OF MONITORS & GCMG MEMBERS
Hon. Kan Dapaah, former chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, making a point in the Accra training in August 15 & 16 2013
A total of fifty two persons from Accra and Cape Coast in the central region have been trained. Facilitators were drawn from the Public Procurement Authority, Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, and Ghana Integrity Initiative, the Association of Building Contractors and Civil Engineers of Ghana and the World Bank. Criteria for selecting monitors included but not limited to;
- Ability to read and write and be neutral
- Resident or regular user of the road project
VALIDATION OF REPORTS
Reports on the two roads, submitted by the monitors, were subjected to validation in different meetings by all stakeholders including, the clients, consultants, contractors, subcontractors, the monitors, the community leaders and the GCMG.
Validation (La-Teshie road) meeting at the Department of Urban Roads
Validation held at the Ghana Highway Authority
At the validation meeting the following were agreed upon:
- The Ghana Highway Authority who also doubles as the consultant accepted the need to reconsider its dual role in future contracts in order to avoid conflict of interest situations
- Relevant contract documents were provided at the site of construction
- Road culverts, gutters and signages on the Assin Praso-Bekwai Road came up strongly at the validation meeting for the attention of the Contractor
- Zebra (pedestrian) crossing lines have been agreed to be drawn on the Assin Fosu road to assist pedestrians to cross the road
- Road traffic that confronted the Kasoa – Accra road came up at one of the validation meeting and the Ghana Highway Authority has agreed to decongest the traffic by adding additional lane to the road
- GCMG has now become an acceptable partner of the Ministry of Roads and Highway in monitoring road contracts in Ghana
- The GCMG has provided a forum where all players in the construction of the two roads met to discuss issues affecting the construction processes
Monitoring activities in pictures below
After the GCMO’s training and hiring of monitors for major roads all over Ghana, there has been significant impact. The GCMG and other establishments have taken proper action to improve roads throughout their country and have had much success doing so, ultimately bettering the lives of Ghanaians as a whole.