Prime Minister temporarily halted construction of houses in Ha’apai.
Radio & Television Tonga News 02/08/2017
The Prime Minister Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva has decided to temporarily halt the construction of homes in Ha’apai due to several problems to the funding of the project which he believes is slowing down the work.
This differs from the Resident Project Manager -Niulolo Prescott’s comment to Radio Tonga News .
Speaking in Parliament this morning the Prime Minister said his decision was based on reports that there was an over payment of 900thousand pa’anga to contractors, another 400thousand pa’anga paid by the Government due to problems faced and was blamed on Government.
The Prime Minister said about 18 personnel is managing this work but the late and slow progress is unacceptable.
He said there were also records of untreated timber which is against the specifications of the agreement.
However he needs this work to be audited starting from June last year until July this year, before any decision of commencing the work is made.
Hon ‘Akilisi Pohiva visited Ha’apai last night for a consultation with the people of the island leading to his decision to hold all construction work.
Speaking to Radio Tonga News – Niulolo Prescott said the slow process in the construction is due to land issues, legal matters, and others.
Currently about 75 new houses are to be constructed and 294 homes are to be renovated.
He said the Government’s processing of land for the construction led to the lateness of the work.
Also several contractors have been compensated due to the problem and led to their withdrawing from the project before any work was carried out.
Prescott said, the construction work needs to be accelerated in Ha’ano and ‘Uiha because they are vulnerable to any hazards before continuing to Lifuka.
Parliament deliberations also raised the contractors payment which was as high as 1200 pa’anga per day – but Niulolo said this is not their fault because this is part of the World Bank’s requirements to pay them according to their skills and knowledge.
He also said he hoped that the Deputy Prime Minister who is chairman of the Task force overseeing the project, addresses this issue because he knows more about the problem.
© Radio & Television Tonga News