Monday, 25 November 2019 06:22

Interim government faces difficulty in settling highway contractors’ bills

The Sri Lanka interim government is finding it difficult to settle outstanding payments to suppliers and contractors of highway projects at present, a progress review report of the Ministry of Highways showed.

It was observed that the progress of the many foreign funded projects implemented during 2018 under review by the Ministry of Highways had remained behind the targets.
The delays were caused due to the weaknesses of the contractors involved as well as the failures of the line ministry to take immediate actions to settle the bills presented by the contractors, an audit inspection discovered.
The Integrated Road Investment Programme had been implemented since 2015 to rehabilitate 285 kilometres of the national roads and 3,038 kilometres of rural roads in the Southern, Central, Sabaragamuwa, North Western and North Central Provinces and Kalutara District in the Western Province.
According to the progress reports, the rehabilitation works of 25 kilometres of national roads and 2,338 kilometres of rural roads in the respective provinces had been completed as at December 31, 2018.
Under Part – 02 of the Project, the road rehabilitation work of 400 kilometres of national roads and 3,750 kilometres of rural roads in the Northern, Eastern, Uva and Western Provinces were expected to be completed.
However, the procurement activities thereon had remained at the initial stage as at December 31, 2018.
The rural roads identified to be rehabilitated at the planning stage had been revised at the later stages and the delays of the work of the contractors had resulted in slow progress of the activities of the project.
The Provincial Council Ministry has received bills from contractors for their payment for 146 completed road development projects last year, the progress report revealed adding that the repayment has not been made due to shortage of funds.
The construction work of 1389 road development projects in all provinces had been completed in 2018 and313.69 kilometres of rural roads were developed during this period.
But the payment for some of the contractors running up to millions of rupees is still pending, the report revealed.


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