KATHMANDU, Aug 6: A representative of contractors who have been working on various development projects has told a parliamentary committee that they have to pay up to 20 percent of their total contract amounts as bribes to top government officials.
Speaking at a meeting of Parliament's Development Committee on Friday, Deputy General Secretary of the Federation of Contractors Associations of Nepal (FCAN) Bishnu Budhathoki claimed that bribery is the reason behind the poor state of projects that they build.
"I think I should not have used these sorts of words at this kind of meeting. But today I must make public the main reason behind the shoddy work done in the development sector," he said at the parliamentary committee meeting which was jam-packed with dozens of lawmakers, top government officials and representatives of contractors, among others. "For every project, we have to provide up to 20 percent of the total contract amount as commission for top government officials, including even secretaries and ministers."
The parliamentary committee organized the meeting at Singha Durbar on Friday to discus the "poor quality of work and delays at infrastructure development projects".
Budhathoki was responding to queries from lawmakers, who asked the FCAN representatives about the reason for the poor quality of work and the delays in building infrastructure projects across the country.
Budhathoki argued that they had to compromise on the quality of their work as they have to spend huge amounts as bribes.
"At first, contractors have to bag a project through the lowest bidding. Then we are asked to ensure high quality work. Moreover, we have to distribute lots of money for the officials," he further explained. "These are the major reasons behind the poor quality work at the projects we do."
Budhathoki, who is also managing director of Gorkha Builders Pvt. Ltd., claimed that FCAN is ready to fight corrupt officials who demand bribes.
After hearing the views of FCAN representatives, lawmakers and government officials, the parliamentary committee issued a four-point directive to the concerned development partners and government bodies to remedy this state of affairs.
The committee has asked the Prime Minister's Office to make changes in the provisions of the Public Procurement Regulations as per needs in the changed context and to ensure effective implementation of the Public Procurement Ac-2007. The committee instructed the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) and FCAN to coordinate more effectively.
Also, the committee has asked government bodies to adopt a carot and stick approach to contractors.