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–Chairman says no substandard work will be tolerated
By Lisa Hamilton
Over 2,000 tenders are being processed for the awarding of contracts by the Region Four Regional Democratic Council (RDC) and this will result in major infrastructural works from Mahaica on the East Coast of Demerara to Moblissa on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway. It will also facilitate the procurement of supplies and services in the areas of health and education.
In a recent interview with the Village Voice News, Region Four RDC Chairman, Daniel Seeram said that residents can rest assured that a system of oversight has been established to ensure that works for awarded contracts are completed in a timely manner and at a high standard.
Some of the key improvements residents can look forward to are upgrades to all major access roads in the region and some major roadways within each community to high-standard, asphalt concrete roads. Most schools in the Region will also receive upgrades during the down period of children being out of school and medical facilities will be upgraded as well. This is apart from the supply of materials to the region such as janitorial supplies, school supplies and office supplies and the provision of services such as the printing of school materials, health services and more.
NO SUBSTANDARD WORK
Seeram said that transparency is very important to the RDC which is why each constituency will have a say in the works to be completed, especially construction works. The Regional Administrative arm will examine the technical works at the Region while the Councillors will make representation on behalf of residents by visiting the worksites and presenting the feedback from residents. “The main goal here is that the people get value for money. We have to understand that the monies that the Regions received through these contracts come directly from the coffers of the treasury and these monies are the monies that the people of Guyana paid through their taxes,” Seeram said, adding:
“My main message is that we must have value for money. We cannot be awarding contracts to contractors for substandard work. We will not accept substandard work from them at any point in time.” The RDC Chairman said that defaulting contractors can expect consequences and these will be outlined in their contracts. In cases where there is needed variation, contractors must receive approval from the regional level. Contractors with the best track record are being sought out.
CONTRACTORS HAVE CONCERNS
Even while he expects the best performance, the RDC Chairman also highlighted concerns coming from several contractors who have been impacted financially by the pandemic.
He explained: “Most of the time when we have engineering estimates coming forward for projects they would have happened pre-budget for the preparation of the budget and those are the allotted amounts that we would have budgeted for at the time, based on rates for materials, for example. However, we would have noted that overtime, steel, cement and other building materials would have gone up.”
In turn, contractors are squeezed financially because the rates at which they bid pre-budget have now changed and towards the more expensive end. Seeram said that this will have an impact on the way that the projects are completed. As such, he recommends that Central Government step up to the challenge by ensuring that these items are provided at a reduced cost to contractors. This, he said, could be achieved by working along with the private sector and other stakeholders. “In the interim, if it gets really bad, the Government can provide some amount of grants or something else to bring down the cost of these materials, even a subvention might be necessary. But, it hasn’t reached to that drastic stage as yet, but myself and Council and the Regional Administration have taken it into consideration.”
The evaluation of the over 2,000 tenders is ongoing. As these are granted approval by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) contracts will be awarded. Region Four is Guyana’s most densely populated region and home to its capital, Georgetown.