Contractor delays work on facility

National, Normal

The National, Friday October 18th, 2013


WORK on the country’s first Container Examination Facility (CEF) has not begun three years after the groundbreaking ceremony at the site at the old Lae airport.

The facility was meant to improve the capacity of PNG Customs to scan (X-ray) containers instead of the current method of opening individual containers and sorting through cargo.

It was lauded as a significant revenue earner for Morobe and the country once it was up and running.

An initial funding of K1.5 million, out of a proposed K6 million government project backing, was presented to building contractor, Sedema Technology Ltd in April last year by PNG Customs.

The cheque was handed over by Customs Commissioner, Ray Paul and witnessed by senior Morobe public servants and politicians and representatives from the departments of finance, national planning and Australian Customs.

Despite the first payment, no work was carried out for more than a year until August when trenches were dug and fencing posts were built at the proposed site in Lae.  

That followed complaints by PNG Customs that work had not started and that the Central Supply and Tenders Board (CSTB) should consider re-tendering the project. 

Morobe administrator Geoving Bilong said yesterday there was a hiccup and the provincial government, CSTB and Customs were negotiating to see how best to rectify the situation.

Bilong said a firm had been awarded the contract to build the huge warehouse to house the world-class state-of-the-art container scanners but things had not worked out as planned.