Contractors not paid by Education Department

National, Normal


MORE than 400 workers are still waiting for their final payments amounting to about K2.3 million for work done in schools in the National Capital District.
Led by former MP William Ebenosi, some of the workers marched to the Education Department at Fincorp Building in Waigani yesterday to demand for payment but found that all of the senior executives were away.
The workers said they would return today and remain at the building until they received a favourable response from the department.
“We demand to know why the department has been delaying payments because some of us have school fees, loans and other bills to settle,” one contractor said.
The workers have set up a working committee to take up their grievances and appointed Mr Ebenosi as chairman.
Mr Ebenosi told The National that he had been told by the first assistant secretary for teaching and learning, Dr Michael Tapo, on several occasions that the money would be ready “within weeks”.
“(But) the last time I approached Dr Tapo, he told me they had no money to pay us,” he said.
Mr Ebenosi said the department had allocated K9.2 million in total to rehabilitate schools in the NCD under RESI and had employed workers to carry out the work.
“The first payment of about K6 million was done in June this year. The department promised us that the second payment of K2.3 million would be released soon but that has not happened,” he said.