The President of SkyHill Group of Companies, Eric Aryikwei Okine has explained that he is optimistic about the construction industry in Ghana post the Covid 19 pandemic.
Mr. Aryikwei Okine has been in the Construction Industry for 11 years now. The company he says is into General construction, Real Estate, Haulage and renting of Mining Equipments. Speaking in an exclusive interview with this Reporter, he highlighted some of his achievements and challenges in the Business and gave a general overview of Ghana’s Construction Industry.
‘‘Just like I do say all the time when it comes to construction, it’s one of the things that are holding the world’s infrastructure. It’s all about professionalism, because in construction if care is not taken and you don’t employ or contract a very good firm to do your construction for you, there will be a problem. So, I always advise looking at this collapsing of buildings, I have been advising that anytime someone is contracting a contractor to do construction, there are so many things the individual needs to consider such as whether the individual is a registered company approved by the government, whether the person has a Works and Housing certificate, then the person must prove to you the previous job that he has done both the government institution and also private institution.’’
Again, he says, ‘‘the person must take you through those things then from there, you can go on to sign an agreement with the person. In my firm here, I always use to say that construction is all about problem-solving. This is because a lot of contractors are around they call themselves contractors but we call something value for money, you give the person a project, at the end of the day, he does the wrong thing all because that particular individual didn’t go through the things that I mentioned, he didn’t consider those things. So, when it happens so, that’s when we the experts or professionals come in. When I come into a project or your site, after we finish everything, the quantities everything, what I discovered about the individual also is, in terms of the materials, when you ask them to buy a particular material, they’ll buy everything, but in terms of the labor, they make sure they cheat contractors. Contractors that they don’t know their job, they always make money lead them, they consider that and at the end of the day they try to reduce some of the materials the individual bought in a different way, they reduce it, some of them steal it in other to get more money to add it to its labor.”
He explained further that as a professional you don’t need to go that way. ‘‘If indeed you’re a professional Engineer, you have given the cost, you have explained everything in details to the client, that may be for example we’ll need five bags of cement to go into this pillar, and the client says its too much, you need to educate the client. I have to involve the client in the contract that I am going to do for that particular client, after educating you and you ask me to manage with three bags because money doesn’t lead me in my construction firm, what I will ask of you is, let do an agreement that as an Engineer, with all the necessary checks, I said we should use five bags and you said I should use three, so let have a document covering it, so in case there is a problem in future, I will not be held liable. If you refuse to sign that document with me, I will leave your job, I will not do it, because my reputation is at stake.’’
When he was asked during the interview about the fact that his business is in Krowor Municipality, the sort of projects he has undertaken or is involved in and why he has been very diplomatic about his achievements over the years in the Construction Industry, Mr. Aryikwei Okine was rather humble in his answer and had this to say. ‘‘It’s a pity, I was a parliamentary candidate in Krowor for the governing party who contested Honorable Afoley Quaye in 2020, so I am one of the opinion leaders in Krowor, so I guess that is why you thought I have handled some government projects in the municipality. It’s a pity, it’s a pity, I have never had such an opportunity.
These are the problems we are facing in our party. Could you imagine the MCE asked me last year to bring my documents for the project, and I gave my documents out, up till now I have never heard from him again. I have been doing follow-up till now. Meanwhile, you knew I am a contractor, and I am one of the opinion leaders in NPP, and we are taking care of the grassroots, our people so I decided not to do any further follow-up again. So, I ask myself, if I am being treated this way, and not getting the chance, what about the grassroots, those down there? It’s a pity! he emphasized. I sought to point out to the President of SkyHill Group of companies that Government processes take long and there are bureaucracies that needs to be followed with regards to awarding of contracts, but he was quick to point out that he has complied with all that and this is not the first time he’ll be involved in a Government project. I asked him to name some projects he has partnered in and he said he was sub lettered by Construction Logistics in the building of the Octagon Building in the Central Business District which currently house the Accra Metropolitan Assembly.
Also, the building of a six-unit block at Accra High School, Sefwi Wiaso School Toilet project, and others. In Krowor specifically, where he is, he says he has never had any project both Government or private. His clients are mostly in the Accra Metropolis, other parts of the country and outside Ghana. In probing on to find out why he hasn’t had such opportunity because he is in Krowor and therefore he must be best placed to be awarded such contracts and whether he thinks people may be sabotaging him, he says he does not know.
Mr. Aryikwei Okine went further to explain, ‘‘that is why I am telling you that since I submitted my document till now, there hasn’t been anything. I gave this advise to our MCE in Krowor as a contractor and also because of his good work, I want him to be doing more things. And if you’re doing more things, the Grassroots must speak. The youth, they will speak for you not you yourself. They will speak loudly and people will hear of it. So MCE, we are fortunate to have this road contract here this year, we have a lot of youth in Krowor unemployed, eager to work, we have carpenters, plumbers, laborers, who are ready to work. And as you are leading the team to construct this road as an MCE, what are you going to do? If I were to be you, instead of me to allow the so-called contractor to bring other laborers from outside, I’d rather convince him, talk to him to employ the people of Krowor, the youth to do the laboring work so that they also get their earns meet, however, till now nothing like that has happened.’’ This is a way of creating employment.
‘‘I do say all the time, this job is doing, whether you’re a degree holder or Senior High School certificate holder, we are ever ready to employ you, we deal with experience and also field workers.’’ Finally, I gave him an opportunity to give a resounding message to the people of Krowor to understand what is happening with regards to the construction industry and why some projects in the municipality are being stalled. He said to me, ‘‘I always say I love you to my people and as a human being, when you have the opportunities, and you transfer some of the opportunities to the youth around your area or constituencies, you’ll have peace of mind when everybody has something doing.
So Krowor, some of you are calling for the office position of MCE and as I said I am ever ready and I have already submitted my CV and I am waiting for you, if the nod is given, such a position as Municipal Chief Executive, someone representing the President, we need someone who is a developer, and someone who is very Administrative and that is what I am doing over here in SkyHill Group.
I am an Estate developer so there is no way if you give me the nod, that I will fail you. I have all the links to bring investors down to make sure we develop Krowor and also create jobs for the youth so that you live in your comfortable zones. So Kroworman, I know with God all things are possible and with your prayers it shall come to pass and I will get the nod for MCE position.’’ Source: Malise Otoo