Govt would hire contractors without “full experience” to keep up with rapid development – VP Jagdeo

New contractors would be hired by the government to keep pace with the ongoing rapid development in the infrastructure sector.
This is according to who on Thursday defended the decision by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) to award a $865 million contract to Tepui Group, which is associated with Mikhail Rodrigues, popularly known as ‘Guyanese Critic.’
“You have to have new contractors. We are building nineteen pump stations and you have very few people with the capacity to build all nineteen… so often you have to bring new contractors who may not have the full experience, but you have to see if they have the comparable skills and have rigid supervision of the contracts,” the Vice President said.
Jagdeo’s comments come after the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) flagged several issues regarding the award of the contract to the company for the construction of a Pump Station at Bell Vue, West Bank Demerara.
The investigation was launched after former Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson filed a complaint with the PPC in which he noted that the company – Tepui Group –was only established in August 2022 and therefore fails to meet the technical requirements of the bid documents for the successful bidder to have successfully completed projects of a similar nature and size within the last three years.
Following the release of the PPC report, the Minister with responsibility for Finance Dr. Ashni Singh noted that the recommendations of the report will be addressed.
Jagdeo said the release of findings from the PPC shows that the procurement system is working and has in place mechanisms for persons to express their grievances. “One thing is clear, the procurement process is working under this government,” he said.
The Vice President also noted that in addition to the 19 pump stations under construction, there are several other drainage and irrigation projects under construction to benefit thousands of Guyanese.
He alluded to the purchase of 40 new mobile pumps which will have the capacity to move 2,840 cubic ft. of water, the US$47 million investment under a World Bank programme to rehabilitate 63 sluices across the country, and the construction of canals in Regions Three, Five and Six to the tune of approximately $26 billion from the sale of forest carbons.
“If you add all of this, we will be budgeting around $115 billion to improve drainage and irrigation structures to make our economy more resilient to flooding and to improve water management,” he said.
Meanwhile, it was reported that among the issues flagged by the PPC related to the company’s lack of experience; having only been registered in 2022; its absence of a bank line of credit; and its failure to submit an audited financial statement.
The company also fell short of its bid security requirement. However, the Commission said it could not do anything about the situation since the contract was already signed. Nevertheless, it advised the project to be strictly monitored for performance and if the contractor is found in breach, that the necessary steps, including termination, be taken.