Nepal | July 04, 2020

CIAA starts detailed probe of 100 worst projects, contractors

Umesh Poudel
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Rs 24 billion advance payment made to 1,800 projects at risk as progress remains dismal

Kathmandu, November 26

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has started a detailed investigation of the 100 worst performing projects and their contractors. These projects have been either running behind the stated deadline or stalled for a long time.

Since the trend of contractors trying to bag as many contracts as possible but not completing them on time or worse, not even starting the construction activities, has been rising, the CIAA had sought details of 1,800 projects from across the country last fiscal.

Pradip Kumar Koirala, spokesperson for CIAA, said that this move was aimed at helping the government ensure that the long-stalled projects are implemented soon.

“We have received numerous complaints regarding project delay caused by contractors and concerned project officials.

So, we have now started detailed investigation of the 100 worst performing projects and after the investigation is over, we will take necessary action against them,” he said.

Earlier, CIAA had submitted details of the remaining 1,700 projects to the government and recommended it to take action against them, but the government has not taken any action against either the contractors or project officials.

“The government has been delaying in taking necessary action against the guilty contractors, consultants and project officials. So, we have decided to take the final call and will soon penalise them as per law,” Koirala said. “The CIAA has found that concerned ministries and implementing agencies are not very serious in penalising the wrongdoers.”

As per CIAA, most of the worst performing projects are related to the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT), Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoEWRI), Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD), Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) and Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), among other ministries that are more involved in development activities.

The highest number (906) of problematic projects is from MoPIT, followed by 442 from MoUD and 327 from MoEWRI, among others.

According to CIAA, more than Rs 24 billion that has been disbursed as advance payment to contractors is now at risk.

“We have seen that the government has been very flexible regarding extending the project completion deadline and there are instances where the deadlines have been extended as many as nine times for certain projects without any valid reason,” mentioned Koirala.

“None of the government agencies seem to be monitoring the progress of the projects and implementing agencies also have not developed any proper mechanism for cross-checking the projects,” he added.

Meanwhile, while reshuffling the Cabinet on November 19, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had strictly directed the ministers to take necessary action against projects that have been under-performing.

“I have always believed in effective execution of projects and capital budget expenditure in order to achieve our development goals,” he had stated.

PM Oli had also directed all the ministers and implementing agencies to change their working style and follow better strategies for timely execution of projects.

A version of this article appears in print on November 27, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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