Yesterday, the Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand announced that her ministry issued multiple warning letters to nine contractors who have breached their contractual obligations. The warning letters she said, is part of a firm stance against contractors failing to meet deadlines and delivering substandard work.

Manickchand noted that the current administration has been working assiduously to ensure the timely and quality completion of various educational infrastructure projects across the country. She highlighted the pervasive issues of faulty workmanship and project delays, which have prompted her and a technical team to hold regular meetings—sometimes as frequently as twice a month—with contractors and consultants to keep projects on track.

The government’s commitment to enforcing contractual terms has included pursuing liquidated damages from contractors responsible for delays. For readers who are not aware, liquidated damages are a set amount of money specified in a contract that one party must pay the other if they breach the agreement. This amount is meant to fairly cover the estimated losses from the breach and avoid disputes over actual damages.

“We are starting and hope to finish more than 30 secondary schools across this country in under five years. And we haven’t changed out contractors and we haven’t changed out what had become a culture. So yes, we are suffering from people who are crossing over timelines, and contractors I’m talking about and it is a challenge,” the minister said.

Despite considering dividing large projects into smaller lots to allow simultaneous work, Manickchand noted that this approach has not alleviated the delays.

As such she asked, “The question for us as a country is, do we just throw up our hands or do we insist on a change of culture amongst contractors?“

In April, President Dr. Irfaan Ali convened a meeting with representatives from various ministries and agencies responsible for awarding and monitoring government contracts. During this meeting, he ordered that penalties stipulated in government contracts be enforced against companies that repeatedly default on their obligations.

President Ali also mandated that project updates for ongoing works be completed for review. As the Ministry of Education continues its ambitious plan to enhance educational facilities, the pressure on contractors to adhere to deadlines and quality standards is expected to intensify.


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