Tarbela-4 extension project: WAPDA chief says $25m recovery from contractor not easy

Govt had paid the money as incentive to complete work before the deadline

Zafar Bhutta December 27, 2016
The original deadline for completing work on the project was February 2018, but for accelerating work and making the project ready by June 2017, a variation order was signed and payment made to the contractor. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) chairman is pressing the federal government to give up its plan of recovering millions of dollars from a contractor for failing to meet the commitment to complete the Tarbela-4 extension project ahead of the deadline.

Earlier, the government had committed to paying $50 million to the contractor of Tarbela-4 extension project if it succeeded in completing work by June 2017. However, the contractor appeared to be unlikely to meet the time frame.

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It is surprising that taxpayer money was paid as an incentive to the contractor, who got $25 million. Now, the government is seeking to recover the money.

Wapda Chairman Muzammil Hussain sought a review of the government’s decision to demand $25 million from the contractor out of the committed $50 million, according to Wapda sources.

Officials in the authority revealed that in a high-level meeting on November 29, chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the Wapda chairman called on the government that it should review its decision as the recovery of $25 million already paid to the contractor would not be easy due to various reasons beyond the control of the contractor.

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He also requested that Wapda should be allowed to undertake the work acceleration programme.

In a huddle on September 15, the secretary to the prime minister had stated that the issue of payment for early completion of the project should be settled as despite receiving the incentive, the contractor did not live up to the commitment. Therefore, he said, measures for recovery of the money should be explored.

Consequently, the premier directed the Wapda chairman to take necessary measures for recovering the amount paid.

The Wapda chief updated meeting participants on the progress made so far on the Tarbela-4 hydroelectric power extension project.

Three units of 470-megawatt each with total capacity of 1,410MW were being installed on the Tarbela-4 tunnel, which would enhance overall capacity of the Tarbela power station to 4,888MW compared to earlier 3,487MW.

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The original deadline for completing work on the project was February 2018, but for accelerating work and making the project ready by June 2017, a variation order was signed and payment made to the contractor.

Despite the incentive, the contractor seemed unlikely to complete the project by the set time frame because of the pace of work so far.

Earlier, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, in a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy held on August 30, 2016, had also raised the matter of payment made for the Tarbela-4 acceleration plan.

Since the project would now be commissioned according to the original plan, the amount already released for the contractor needed to be recovered, he said.

Water and Power Secretary Younus Dagha pointed out that instructions had been issued to Wapda in that connection.

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The prime minister was told that former Wapda chairman had made a commitment that the Tarbela-4 extension would start functioning by August 14, 2017. However, the premier expressed displeasure over the slow progress and directed the water and power secretary to firm up a time frame with the newly appointed Wapda chairman.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2016.

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ishrat salim | 6 years ago | Reply @riz: Nor the pace of work is satisfactory nor the contractor is adhering to work incentive program to complete the project earlier against incentive. In this case, the contractor received incentive 50% in advance ( which never happens in any project ) $ 25 million, yet they have now declined to complete as per new agreed date, yet you want them to keep the money, or what ?
Parvez | 6 years ago | Reply Stealing is easy.......recovery is always hard. That is why countries that function under a rule-of-law system do their best to ensure that money is not stolen. In Pakistan sadly the system of rule-of-law, even if it exists , it does so mostly in name only.
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