Govt forms task force to address demands of contractors

Published On: August 14, 2023 09:25 PM NPT By: Samiksha Shrestha

FinMin Mahat assures to clear the payments of construction entrepreneurs

KATHMANDU, Aug 14: In order to address the demands of the agitating contractors, the government has formed a six-member task force under the coordination of Public Procurement Monitoring Office Secretary Dr Damodar Regmi. The task force includes joint secretaries from line ministries as its members.

The task force is mandated to submit its report within 15 days after conducting necessary consultations and coordination with various stakeholders.

The prime minister has instructed the Ministry of Finance and other line ministries to promptly address the agitating contractors’ demands, including payment of completed works, according to the Spokesperson for the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Narayan Prasad Bhatta.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is serious about addressing several demands of the contractors, added Bhatta. 

During a discussion held at the Ministry of Finance on Monday, Rabi Singh, the president of the Federation of Contractors Association of Nepal (FCAN), highlighted issues related to projects that were not completed as scheduled and the problems associated with non-payment for last year's projects. Singh stressed that the state should also consider projects that were not extended due to challenges related to project milestones, public procurement regulations, and other factors.

Finance Minister Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat said that the government has no intention to halt the payment of construction entrepreneurs. He also assured that the ministry will properly address the issue of VAT retention by real estate entrepreneurs. However, he mentioned that if it becomes evident that certain projects cannot proceed, the contracts of such projects might be terminated.

Finance Minister Mahat assured that the government would ensure timely payments to contractors but would not hesitate to annul contracts of stalled projects. He urged for efficient budget management and project acceleration for those projects where contract termination is not a viable option.

The contractors have been voicing concerns over the issue of non-payment for the projects they have already completed. Construction workers have claimed that out of Rs 125 billion for various projects of construction entrepreneurs, only Rs 70 billion have been released by the government.

Construction entrepreneurs along with the FCAN have been holding protests since July 30 with central demands of extension of contract periods and adjustments to project prices in alignment with the prevailing inflation rate.


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