Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Dept of Roads in P20.7 million contract mess

Department of Road Transport and Safety (DTRS)’s P20.7 million project that was expected to improve the turnaround time for the acquisition of driving licenses in Maruapula has been halted because the contractor has downed tools.
 
The contractor, Neo Information Systems Co. Ltd is said to have abandoned the project demanding three times more than the initial price of the project.
 
Minister of Transport and Communication Tshenolo Mabeo confirmed to Sunday Standard that the P20.7 million project has been halted. 
 
The project was expected to be completed last month but is currently half way through. 
 
“I understand there is a problem with the additional work on the project. Nevertheless, I can confirm that work has been halted. I have directed my Directors there to write to the contractor because there are items that are not disputed but the contractor decided to stop everything. This can never be right. There are two portions that are contested there; one portion is the change of scope in the tower which we are disputing the amount that the contractor wants to be paid,” said Mabeo.
 
Minister Mabeo said they were in consultation with the Ministry of Infrastructure Science and Technology and they are looking at the bill of quantities (BOQ) which he feels does not add up.
 
“It’s a non starter. The contract wanted 150 percent of the initial price.  We have engaged the quantity surveyor to look deeper into the matter. What I am not happy with as we speak now is the fact that work has stopped at the site. We haven’t instructed the contractor to stop work. I have asked my people in the Ministry whether they wrote to the contractor to ask why work at the site was stopped,” said Mabeo. 
 
“The work price has snowballed more than three times the initial price but there hasn’t been much change in terms of scope,” he emphasised.
 
DRTS management contradicted Mabeo and denied that the contractor has abandoned the site. Responding to Sunday Standard questions DRTS Public Relations Officer Mmapula Sampson said the contractor is currently on site.
Sampson said work done currently stands at 60 percent and 40 percent remain undone.
“The project is still within the budgeted amount, funds budgeted for the project have not been exhausted and the contractor is currently on site.” She also said all projects worldwide have challenges and “to mitigate any problem that may arise we have put in place a project technical team, the function of the team is to address any challenge that may arise, of course in consultation with the Ministry Management,” she said.
Currently the testing area is closed until the matter is resolved and the projected is completed.

 

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The Telegraph October 28

Digital edition of The Telegraph, October 28, 2020.