Debt Restructuring Programme – Over 1500 Workers of Brazilian Construction Firm Contracta Fired In Kumasi.
A Brazilian Construction firm “Contracta” has prematurely terminated appointments of over 1500 construction workers employed for the Construction of the Kumasi Central Market, Kumasi International airport, and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals Mother and Baby Units (MBU).
The unfortunate development, according to multiple sources among the firm management, commenced in December 2022 when construction work stalled on the three construction sites.
The firm from December 2022 commenced staff appointment termination in monthly batches in accordance with the labour act accumulating to 1500 affected staff.
A management member of the company on condition of anonymity disclosed that all the affected staff were given one month notice of appointment termination followed by a compensation package.
“Management didn’t want to violate the country’s labour laws so we followed every step including medical check out. This is not something we intended to do but the situation forced us to do that’’.
He disclosed that the Kumasi airport phase two projects which is about 95 percent completed except for the installation of gadgets, control towers, extension of runways and demolishing of existing structures are all currently on hold due to lack of funds to facilitate the completion of the entire project.
He explained that “the project has been affected by the ongoing government debt restructuring programme. Government I mean the finance minister has suspended external payment. So the UK government responsible for funding the project has stopped releasing funding to us to work on the project.”
“So we are ready to work but we don’t have money to pay workers and buy material so that’s the problem were are facing at the moment so Asantehene who facilitated the loan through Prince Charles has been put in the know of the situation to do something about it’’ he said.
He stressed “ at the moment only few administrative staff are currently working with the company doing administrative work with a few drivers. All our vehicles have equally been parked at our warehouse site. So for now there’s no work on any of our sites” he concluded.
CENTRAL MARKET PHASE TWO PROJECT
The Central Market project sod cutting was held on 2nd May 2019 by President Nana Akufo Addo in company of Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and was dated to be completed by the end of March 2024.
However, the construction firm disclosed they can’t meet the deadline due delays on the project, a development they stressed is beyond their control.
“ We can’t meet the deadline for the traders to come and trade in the Central Market. This is because the former Kumasi mayor failed to relocate the traders on time for the project to start as we wanted. We had already wasted a lot of time on this project before this IMF recommended debt restructure programme affecting the entire project. You know money and equipment were ready but KMA didn’t show any commitment to them to support the project. At some point the UK government wanted to take their money back until Regional Minister Simon Osei-Mensah’s intervention’’.
Meanwhile, Central Market traders who were relocated to Race Course market and others who have no place to trade are expected to hold a major demonstration against the government on Monday 13th March 2023 over the stalled Kumasi Central Market project.
Another source close to Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II also confirmed the monarch has been briefed on the stalled work on the three sites due to the funding as a results of the Debt Restructuring Programme proposed by the IMF that government is depending on for loan to restructure the country’s collapsing economy.
” You all know the role Otumfuo played behind the scenes on this project. The King is aware of the situation. He will soon travel to the UK for the coronation of King Charles the King of Great Britain in the coming days this issue will be looked at. it’s unfortunate but these are priority projects which are dear to Otumfuo which falls within the Asanteman development agenda so Otumfuo will take the right step I can assure you on that”