Jul 29, 2010

Construction bills over budget|Newsd@y Trinidad and Tobago

MILLIONS worth of bills submitted to the Government from companies in the construction sector were not “within the budgetary framework” of the last PNM Government, Finance Minister Winston Dookeran said yesterday.

“We are making every effort to meet those challenges without disturbing the fiscal balance,” Dookeran told a luncheon audience hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain. “I understand the problem we have been faced with is that there are many bills which were not within the budgetary framework.”

For years, contractors have complained that the State’s payments have dried up, even as projects regarded as excessive by some, such as the near $1 billion Brian Lara Stadium project in Tarouba, progressed, seeing millions worth of advances paid out.

Dookeran said the Government remains intent of having a new procurement bill made law.

Over budget seems to be the order of the day with the projects that were previously started by the PNM Government now have financial issues that could be a burden on the treasury.

These practices must not be allowed to continue in the future. There needs to be oversight of these projects to ensure that the contracts are respected by the contractors. It is apparent that almost all of the contracts are coming in over budget. The present government has to continue to finance these projects since they all have signed contracts. The problem is that these contracts were signed with the majority of the benefits on the side of the contractor.

Mr. Dookeran said that they are making every effort "to meet those challenges without disturbing the fiscal balance". That is indeed the challenge however the bigger challenge will be to satisfy the people who will want the government to deliver on their promises sooner rather that later.






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