14-day ultimatum issued to stop work at LNG site

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A 14-DAY ultimatum for payments for early works on the LNG project lapses today and contractors are threatening to shut operations by Friday.
Spokesman and Juha Joint Venture chairman Hengebe Haluya said yesterday that small contractors engaged in the early works on the LNG project would stop operations on Friday because there had been no positive response from Esso Highlands and its joint venture partners.
Haluya said a total of 40 small contractors involved in early works own up to 49 heavy and light vehicles that started work on May 31 were still awaiting payments.
“Juha Joint Venture have 11 vehicles involved in the early work since May have not received any payments which was causing problems for the workers and management regarding their payments,” Haluya said.
“We have given them 14-day notice, which lapses today, to pay up or we stop work on the project sites.”
Haluya said Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) had been given notice but there had been no positive response to date.
The chairman said he had killed 10 pigs to assure workers that their money would be paid when contractors receive their share for the work done for the past six months.
“Is this how they run a major LNG project?” Haluya asked.
“There is no cash, I assume.”
He also lashed out at Southern Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru’s comments shifting the blame onto government ministers claiming there had been too many promises that were unbudgeted for.
“I am surprised that Agiru his saying this because his job is to fight with the government in ensuring the landowners get their benefits.”
Haluya said there was money available that was handed down in the Supplementary Budget, which is held in a trust account.
He said politicians should not be involved but allow the Department of Finance and Treasury to make payments.