RA and NRP accused of exploitation

11 Aug 2014 18:50pm
ONGWEDIVA, 11 AUG (NAMPA) - The Roads Authority (RA) and Namibia Road Products (NRP) are accused of exploiting sub-contractors on the Okatana-Endola-Onhuno road, which is under construction since July 2012.
The road is being upgraded to bitumen standard at a cost of N.dollars 187 million.
It aims to link the Oshana Region from the Okatana settlement to the Onhuno settlement in its sister region, Ohangwena.
The RA is the funding agency on behalf of the government, while the NRP is the main contractor on the project.
Nine sub-contractors and some 700 individual workers are said to have joined the construction of the Okatana-Endola-Onhuno road under the NRP.
“We are not paid for the services we provided to the construction since February this year, and the NRP is continuously telling us it has also not yet been paid by the RA to be able to pay us,” sub-contractors told Nampa on Monday.
These sub-contractors preferred to remain unnamed out of fear of being victimised, their services terminated or not being granted tenders in the future.
It is alleged that NRP has already started the process of terminating the services of certain sub-contractors, despite the fact that the company still owes those sub-contractors huge amounts of money because of a prolonged non-payment.
Leaders of some sub-contractors are said to have stopped going to the construction site as their workers are up in arms, angry and just want to beat them up.
“We cannot go back to our workers empty-handed anymore. As you know the guys (workers) are hungry and are now unable to financially support their families because they are without salaries for the past six months,” said the disgruntled sub-contractors.
The NRP is also accused of paying less than what sub-contractors have tendered for. For instance a sub-contractor is paid N.dollars 400 000 for construction work worth N.dollars 1 million.
“This is contrary to the project’s objectives which are, among others, to create employment opportunities and income improvement in order to upgrade the living standard of the people,” affected sub-contractors argued.
Approached for comment, NRP director Ferdinand Nghiyolwa told Nampa it is the RA that has delayed payment from February this year.
Speaking to Nampa in a telephonic interview, he indicated that the RA has assured that the payment will be done, and the money will reach the NRP bank account by the end of this month.
He pointed out that his company has been paying its sub-contractors and workers in the construction with money from its own funds.
Nghiyolwa said the RA owes the NRP N.dollars 5 million per month since February.
He went on to say several sub-contractors, especially the smaller ones, have received their payments and already left the project.
Only three sub-contractors have not received their money yet, Nghiyolwa charged, adding that only two sub-contractors are still working on the project.
Some of the contractors left after finishing their work, while it is alleged that others have left merely to run away from starving wages they have experienced since the beginning of the project.
Spokesperson of the RA, Hileni Fillemon declined to comment on the issue.