The National, Thursday October 31st, 2013
By CLEMENT KAUPA
NOT surprisingly, the Lae city roads rehabilitation fiasco has extended to other multi-million kina public funded infrastructure projects in the country.
That much is apparent following a rare moment of clarity during a one-day civil engineers’ workshop in Lae last week.
The engineers now want technical audits to be legislated for all public-funded infrastructure projects.
Some 100 professional engineers unanimously agreed that hundreds of millions of kina in public funds had paid for shoddy infrastructure over the years.
Institute of Engineers PNG (IEPNG) chief executive Benedict Mick, president David Guerra, acting Works Secretary David Wereh, Transport Secretary Roy Mumu and IPBC official Illa Marai were all there.
They all collectively agreed there was a need for technical audits to be legislated for public infrastructure projects regardless of value and scope.
With them all in one room, the chief protagonist in the Lae city roads rehabilitation programme (LCRRP) funding woes, Morobe Governor Kelly Naru, could not pass up the opportunity to ram home his point.
Naru attributed the poor quality roads to engineers failing to check and verify construction at strategic stages of construction.
“These are costly mistakes,” Naru said in relation to the K140 million expended on the first stage of the LCRRP from 2010 to 2012.
“Who picks up the tab?” Naru asked of a number of contractors who collected payments and left without delivering any conceivable work. As far as I am concerned, no technical audit had been done on any of the public-funded road construction around the country,” Mick said.
Mick said quality, value and timeliness were of the essence and as engineers it was incumbent on everyone to ensure strict compliance.
But perhaps because he was the ‘silent’ participant in the LCRRP funding debate up till then, Wereh’s wrap up of the workshop proceedings was the highlight.
The bureaucrat admitted that poor works, poor quality control and poor supervision over the years had culminated in the buildup of a huge rehabilitation and maintenance backlog.
He said getting the design and costing right from the very beginning was critical if an infrastructure project was to be delivered to specification, on time and to the approved price.
“We as engineers and this institution (IEPNG) must take responsibility for the maintenance of our professional standards and take appropriate action against those who fail to meet the requirements for their continuing individual registration as an engineer by this institution.”