Works Minister, Francis Awesa, who was in Lae last week saidthe delays are unacceptable. “Works have been very slow in implementing. It’s almostthe end ofthe year sothere must be no excuse bythe officers. Directions have given tothe Works Secretary and Manager in Lae to fast trackthe work,” said Awesa.
The instructions came just asthe Provincial Works Department has about resolved a backlog of contractual complications that delayedthe completion of work.
Lae’s Road problems stem from a Central Supply and Tenders Beard decision to allow much ofthe work to proceed under what’s called Certificate of Expediency.
It’s an arrangementthe government usually employs in states of emergency or in natural disasters.
Some ofthe contractors were paid upfront while thers are still waiting for payments to be settled.
While political statements are being made, some contractors remain unpaid. At least one who didn’trsquo;t want to be named saidthe government owesthem up to two-million kina.
A lot of work has happened inthe background since 2012. The government took back supervisory control of road construction which was previously held by NME constructions.
An investigation shows irregularities in payments and ther documents.
The Prime Ministersaid in Lae last week that he’s given specific direction for all Lae roads to be constructed using concrete.
“We have given out two contracts to Lae City roads which I have deliberately insisted that it must be cement and that is why it has taken a little bit longer for us to get this projects rolling out,” said O’Neill.
As more money is channeled to Lae for port expansion, a four lane highway, andthe expansion of Nadzab airport,the works department says residential roads won’t see any improverment untilthe final part of a five phase road development program.
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