Three hundred construction companies have submitted bids to the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) for the construction and rehabilitation of roads in cocoa growing communities nationwide. The firms are competing to be selected as contractors for the first phase of the cocoa road projects, which resumed this year after it was suspended for auditing and streamlining purposes.
The Head of General Services of COCOBOD, Mr Joseph Nsiah, who disclosed this in an interview with the Graphic Business, said the first phase involved 43 roads in the Western North, Oti, Volta, Western, Central, Bono, Ahafo and Eastern regions. He said COCOBOD received bids totalling 800 from the 300 companies.
“We will do the second phase later which we will also award a different set of contracts for the construction of roads within the cocoa growing areas as part of the resumption of cocoa roads activities,” he stated.
Construction to begin in January
Mr Nsiah said “Our expectation is that by January 2020, work should start and we are fasttracking things to make sure that we are able to work within the shortest possible time. “By end of December this year, we should be able to finish this process of selection and by January, awards will be given for construction to start,” he noted.
Competitive tender process
He pointed out that this was the first time COCOBOD was using the competitive tender process to select contractors for the cocoa roads. “It has always been through sole sourcing and restrictive tenders but management is of the view that going forward, there is the need to bring in more transparency and more competition in order to bring down the price.
“At a point in time we may want to do sole sourcing or restrictive tenders but now we feel there is the need for us to do a national competitive tendering,” he explained. “We are going through a rigorous selection procedure to get the very best of contractors to do the job for us,” he added.
He said the secrecy which had normally characterised the award of cocoa road projects in the past had been linked to many poor-quality road construction projects and project price inflation.
Open to all
He said the process was opened to all road construction companies that met the publicised requirements. The received tenders will be submitted to a committee for evaluation to determine whether the tenders meet the standardised requirements, after which the central tender committee will make its recommendations for COCOBOD’s management to award the contracts.
Impact on cocoa production
Commenting on how the construction of the roads would impact cocoa production in the country, Mr Nsiah said, this would make it easier for COCOBOD to haul the cocoa to the ports and also haul fertiliser and chemicals to the farms. “It will also serve as a way of improving the livelihoods of the farmers who are our core constituents,” he stated.
Agreement with Roads Ministry
Mr Nsiah also indicated that COCOBOD had signed a concession agreement with the Ministry of Roads and Highways, which would recognise cocoa roads as assets of COCOBOD for a period of 10 years. “In time past, COCOBOD roads were not considered assets of the company so even though we were building the roads, in terms of accounting; nothing showed that they were our assets.
“They only reflected as expenditure made but they were not our assets and this was affecting our books. So going forward, there is a 10 year concession agreement that has been signed where all roads we build will be considered as part of the assets,” he explained. Within the 10 years period, he said COCOBOD would also be responsible for the maintenance of the roads.