July 22: The Federation of Contractors' Association of Nepal (FCAN) has demanded extension of the deadline of ongoing projects by one year, considering 'zero-construction holiday' till mid November. The budget for the current fiscal year has called for deadline extension by six months, but it has not been implemented. Therefore, the federation members met with Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and requested for a one year deadline extension.
A delegation of FCAN including its President Ravi Singh met the PM on July 21 and presented their demands. Singh informed that the PM has expressed commitment to fulfill their demands after going through it. He said that the federation has sought for extension of all contracts by one year.
The budget statement of the current Fiscal Year 2021/22 has provisioned to extend the construction projects by six months. Due to the second wave of Covid-19, monsoon season, seasonal work and subsequent holidays, the period till mid Nov should be considered as a construction holiday and the deadline should be extended, said Singh.
The federation has also drawn the attention to the issue of payment and return of bail amount. It has urged the government to implement the provisions introduced by the previous government and has requested to address the demands of contractors if the government brings in a supplementary budget.
The sixth amendment to the Public Procurement states that deadline cannot be extended. According to this provision, once the term has been decided, the term will not be extended again.
Stating that this provision has created serious complications for the extension of deadlines of many projects, the federation has also suggested scrapping such impractical provisions.
As mentioned in the budget statement, the federation has also demanded 100 percent return instead of 50 percent of the bail amount. Singh urged Prime Minister Deuba to form an expert team involving stakeholders to make the second amendment to the Public Procurement Act business-friendly. They have also requested to make immediate payment as large payments have been stopped at present.