In his first days on the island as Phuket Governor, Gov Phakaphong on Oct 5 last year called for a new contractor to be signed by no later than December 2018 to complete the work. (See story here.)
That great leap forward has yet to happen.
At a meeting on Friday (Sept 6), Governor Phakaphong announced that he had filed a request with the Ministry of Interior for B38mn in order to finally complete the decades in coming project.
Phuket officials still have B160mn left from the original budget after the contractor Chun Eaw Co Ltd failed to finish the initial part of the construction, but still need more in order to fund the B198mn contract to hire “Wall and Tesco” (transliteration from Thai) to finish the construction.
Governor Phakaphong explained that the government had reclaimed from Chun Eaw Co Ltd B22,495,000, which was the standard 5% of the contract value awarded that is held as a deposit as a guarantee that the contract will be fulfilled as per government regulations.
A further B11,976,338 was reclaimed from Chun Eaw Co Ltd as monies paid for work not done, he added.
Chuan Eaw had received B277,543,280 through 47 payments while it was still working on the project, he noted.
The monies reclaimed were handed over to the Comptroller General's Department (CGD), as is standard procedure, Gov Phakaphong explained.
However, the CDG has refused to hand the monies back to Phuket officials so that the project can be completed.
Without those funds, there is not enough funds to hire the new contractor to complete the new Provincial Hall, he explained.
Hence, he said, “Phuket [“government”] has filed a request to the Ministry of Interior for B38,349,648 in order to to acquire the budget needed to complete the construction through a new contract.
“The request [for B38mn] is now under the consideration of the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Interior,” Governor Phakaphong said.
The initial contractor, Chun Eaw Co Ltd, failed to complete its part of the project amid a slew of reasons, including changes in the labour law last year regarding migrant workers.
The contractor was granted two extensions, yet still failed to complete the work. (See story “Cashed Out: Construction of B450mn Provincial Hall stalls, ‘financial mismanagement’ blamed”, click here.)
Of note, while the initial total project value was presented to the public as B450mn (see story here), the B449mn dedicated to Phase 1 by Chun Eaw Co Ltd and the B198mn now understood to be dedicated to "Wall and Tesco" to complete Phase 2 brings the total cost of the new Phuket Provincial Hall to B647mn.