Business News of 2013-12-05

Govt worried over delay in data centre project

The Minister of Communications,Dr Edward Omane Boamah, has expressed his displeasure about the delay in the completion of the National Data Centre Project.

“No additional money will be given to the Top International Engineering Limited if they do not meet the deadline and any additional cost that will be added will not be paid by the government, apart from the money that was agreed on in the contract,” he said.

The minister said that during a visit to the Data Centre in Accra yesterday.

The $40-million project, which started in 2010, was to be completed in July this year but due to some circumstances arising as a result of delays on the part of the main contractor, it was shifted to September this year and now it has been pushed to February next year.

The minister said the purpose of the centre, when completed, would be a storage place for government data for references, digital data storage for the Births and Deaths Registry, immigration records, national identification records and other departments and agencies.

There would also be a call centre which would fight cyber security, bringing government services more closely to the citizenry in an open and transparent manner, and that was why he was concerned about the delay.

He said the company to establish the call centre and the elevators were ready but something needed to be done on the part of the contractors to enable them to install their items, delaying everyone in the process.

However, Dr Boamah said the Data Centre would also accommodate the Ministry of Communications and its allied agencies.

Failure to meet deadline

The Project Consultant, Mr Peter Aganu, said the failure to meet the deadline was due to the delay in the procurement of the actual items for construction and as such it had caused delay on the part of all stakeholders involved.

He said most of the materials needed were not locally manufactured, which had also resulted in the delay in the completion of the project.

“As the project progresses, they determine what would be better for a modern building and that has also created additional work to the building,” he said

Mr Aganu noted that the main contractor, Top International Engineering Limited, was in control of everything but due to ineffective communication between the contractor and the other stakeholders, work could not progress steadily.

The consultant said the final set of additional work had been approved and the main contractor was preparing a programme for it.

He said it was after the programme had been prepared that they would be in a better position to determine the completion date of the project.

Challenge

Responding to the assertion of the consultant, Dr Omane Boamah challenged him to let the good people of Ghana know how procurement could be a problem when the government had given the construction group 70 per cent of the contract as far back as 2011, adding that the work they had delivered did not account for the said percentage.

He revealed that as a punitive measure for the delay, they had to go for their own loan, with its attendant interest, for the proposed additional payment to be done.

He described the management and consultants of the project as a classical examples of being unable to manage projects”, adding that government would not go beyond the stipulated three months they had indicated.