How NIS Berbice Branch costs $69M…There was a $400,000 septic tank
Following revelations that the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) needed a whopping a $2.6M to construct a generator hut for its Corriverton branch, yet another obscenely overpriced item has been found.
According to an Engineer’s Estimate released by the Office of the President, a septic tank was projected to cost $413,420.
However, independent contractors and engineers say that on an average, inclusive of labour cost, a septic tank should not cost beyond $85,000. These are septic tanks with walls made of hollow blocks and filled with cement to strengthen them.
Then there are the more expensive ones that involve the pouring of cement to construct the walls. These walls are entirely solid and have no hollow blocks. These, according to contractors, should not run more than $150,000, inclusive of labour costs.
According to Engineer’s Estimate, the septic tank should have been 15.5 ft long, five ft wide and five ft deep. It should also have a five feet by 2.5 feet deep filter box attached. Yet even for this item the dimensions seem to be in question since the very next line of the Bill of Quantities calls for the construction of a 12.5ft long by 7ft wide by 5ft deep septic tank.
It was apparent that NIS’ estimate allowed for the pouring of mix concrete, instead of the blocks.
For that item some $198,000 alone was provisioned for pouring the cement.
It will be recalled that following the announcement that the NIS branch cost $69M and the subsequent questions that arose, Kaieteur News published pictures of three homes which were built for staffers and which cost less than $7M each.
The newspaper had requested from Head of the Presidential Secretariat and NIS Chairman, Dr. Roger Luncheon, the details of the costs of that $69M facility.
Dr. Luncheon, in turn, requested that the newspaper provide the Bills of Quantities for these homes.
The newspaper and the Office of the President then exchanged documents with the latter providing the Engineer’s Estimate for the NIS Building.
On Tuesday, media workers including Kaieteur News Publisher Glenn Lall and Editor-in-Chief Adam Harris were both refused entry to that Corriverton branch.
The security on recognizing the newsmen immediately shut the gates and later disclosed that NIS’ General Manager, Doreen Nelson, had ordered that they be kept out.
The Branch Manager, Louise Bryan, was seen hiding at the back of the NIS building.
The Engineer’s Estimate for the entire project was $50,667,948. Based on this estimate, tenders later went out for local contracting firms to submit bids.
Government, who commissioned that Corriverton facility late last month, said that the completed structure cost NIS $69M.
In light of the many questions, Kaieteur News over the weekend offered to conduct an on-site post-construction audit to determine whether the $69M was well spent.
The newspaper has also asked for a copy of the engineering drawings, which was never provided by the government and copy of the payment certificates detailing the work completed that was paid for.
There has not been a response as yet from government.