MoH Head Office for 2023 completion – Dr Anthony

…says an additional $74.1M allocated in 2023 Budget

The Health Ministry’s Head Office will be completed this year; a sum of $74.1 million has been allocated for this in the 2023 National Budget.
Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony disclosed on Thursday that since the construction period of the building was extended, an additional fee of $5.2 million has also been budgeted for the supervisory contracting firm.
In 2021, Government retendered the contract to construct the Ministry of Health Headquarters at Brickdam – one of several troubled contracts that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) had to terminate over breaches by the contractor.
“We have $74.1 million for the construction and $5.2 million for the supervisory contractor,” he shared during the Consideration of Estimates and Expenditure.
Some $1.9 million has been set aside for maintenance of the old administrative buildings.
“We need to do some drainage works, and for gutters on the building, because we noticed some leakages. It would cover the maintenance of the Head Office Building, MMU, and Food Policy Buildings. These are the three main categories of building,” Dr Anthony detailed.
After repeated contractual breaches, protracted delays, and almost tripling of the contract costs, in November 2020, Government terminated the $356.8 million contract that was awarded to Chung’s Global Enterprise to construct the Headquarters of the Health Ministry. Attorney General Anil Nandlall had written to Chung’s Global Enterprise, informing that the contract was being terminated effective October 31, 2020 on the ground of contractual breaches.
Chung’s was awarded the contract, worth $356.8 million, in 2017 to construct the Public Health Ministry’s Head Office Building at Lot 1 Brickdam. Works commenced on July 19, 2018, and the contractor was supposed to complete the project within a year. However, in September 2020, despite receiving $308.4 million for advance payments and mobilisation expenses, as well as two extensions totalling 317 days, permanent works were only 70 per cent completed at the site.
To add insult to injury, the contractor submitted a repriced bill of quantities, demanding an additional sum of $513.3 million on August 3, 2020 – a mere day after the Government had officially changed hands with the swearing-in of President Dr Irfaan Ali. The Attorney General therefore instructed the contractor to immediately stop all works, and secure and vacate the site as soon as possible.
According to Nandlall’s letter, the Government was not only terminating the contract, but was also instituting legal proceedings against the contractor for breach of contract and liquidated damages.
Auditor General Deodat Sharma had himself previously flagged the delayed state of the project under the nose of the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government.
In the 2017 Audit Report, it was pointed out that the project was at a standstill during an August site visit. By that time, the contractor had already collected $71.3 million in advance payments.