Namibia: Salini demands extra N$600 million from govt

19 January 2015

Salini-Impregilo, the Italian company constructing the N$2.9-billion Neckartal Dam in the Fish River Canyon, is demanding an extra N$600 million from government as compensation for what it deems as government-caused delays to the project schedule.

It is also accusing government of failing to fulfil certain contractual obligations, which are pertinent to the project’s timely execution. Salini-Impregilo’s contract manager at Keetmanshoop, Malcolm Manford, pleaded ignorance on the matter when approached for comment.

However, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Joseph Iita, confirmed Salini-Impregilo’s demand of N$600 million but declined to divulge further details “before it is dealt with by government”.
However New Era has obtained information that Salini Impregilo is behind schedule, having not completed a third of its scheduled work in the first year of construction.

Salini-Impregilo was awarded the tender in 2013 but commencement of construction was not altered when challenges were lodged in court. Salini’s view is that since the court challenges were against government, it is government who must pay delay penalties.

The company is alleged to have employed unfair and discriminatory labour practices towards Namibian workers, and engaging foreign workers without relevant work papers. It also admitted spending millions of dollars on accommodation for its foreign workers while local workers lived in poor conditions.

The 80-m roller-compacted concrete dam will harness water from the Fish River to produce energy and create a reservoir capable of holding 857 million cubic metres of water, to be used to irrigate 5,000 hectares of land for agricultural development of the area.

By Mathias Haufiku

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