RA and NRP accused of not paying sub-contractors

03 Oct 2014 15:20pm
ONGWEDIVA, 03 OCT (NAMPA) – The Roads Authority (RA) and Namibia Road Products (NRP) are being accused of taking sub-contractors involved in the Okatana-Endola-Onhuno road construction project for granted.
The project started in July 2012 and was supposed to be completed within a period of 18 months.
The road is being upgraded to bitumen standard at a cost of N.dollars 187 million.
Upon completion it will link the Oshana Region, from Okatana Constituency, to its sister region of Ohangwena at the Onhuno settlement.
Nine sub-contractors and some 700 individual workers are said to have joined the construction of the Okatana-Endola-Onhuno road under NRP as the main contractor in the project.
Some of the sub-contractors involved complained to Nampa on Wednesday that NRP has allegedly not paid them for the past eight months, but keeps promising to do so “soon”.
“NRP has not yet paid for the services we provided since February this year and the company is continuously telling us it has also not received its payment from the RA to be able to pay us,” some of the sub-contractors who spoke to Nampa on Wednesday said.
They asked to remain anonymous for fear of having their services terminated before their outstanding money is paid, and also because they fear that they will not be granted tenders in future.
It is alleged that NRP has terminated the services of certain sub-contractors despite the fact that the company still owes the sub-contractors huge amounts of money.
The owners of the some of the sub-contracted companies are said to have stopped going to the construction site as their workers are up in arms.
“We cannot go back to our workers empty handed anymore. As you know the guys (workers) are hungry. They are unable to financially support their families because they are without salaries for the past eight months,” they said.
The NRP is also accused of paying less than what sub-contractors have tendered for. One sub-contractor alleged that he was paid N.dollars 400 000 for construction work worth N.dollars 1 million.
Approached for comment, NRP director Ferdinand Nghiyolwa blamed the RA for the situation.
“The RA has delayed the payment from February this year. We met with them on 23 July and they agreed to pay us at the end of August,” he said.
By this week, no payment had however been received from the Roads Authority.
“I am in a difficult situation but I have to deal with it,” Nghiyolwa said, adding that he was going to see Minister of Works and Transport Erkki Nghimtina on Friday.
He denied allegations that several sub-contractors left the project without payment, and insisted that they had been paid.
“Only three of the sub-contractors that have left the project have not been paid yet,” Nghiyolwa said.
One of the small and medium enterprise (SME) contractors, Katrina Shimbulu, who is also the former mayor of Oshakati, confirmed on Wednesday that continuous non-payment by the NRP forced her to quit the project
“I received less than the amount I tendered for, therefore I quitted to avoid a further burden of non-payment,” Shimbulu stated.
She went on to say non-payment by NRP and RA has affected the country’s economy, created conflict between contractors and workers and has jeopardised the government’s strategy to generate possible employment for unemployed citizens.
Efforts to get comment from the RA since August have been in vain. The company’s spokesperson, Hileni Fillemon on Wednesday also promised to respond to Nampa’s queries, but no response was received by Thursday.