Gov’t cracking down on late payments to contractors

Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, has pledged to address the issue of contractors facing difficulties receiving payments after completing government contracts.

He announced the government would hold accounting officers of the various ministries and agencies responsible for timely payments.

Dr Jagdeo was at the time speaking during his weekly press conference at the Office of the President on Thursday.

Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

He said that the government has taken notice of some persons having to wait months to receive their payments after completing projects.

“Sometimes people slow this down deliberately at the processing level. The clerk sits on the payment sheet or it never moves forward to the to the accounting officer’s level so that the payment could be affected and then they request people to pay them money to expedite it,” he explained.

He said that the Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance and Public Service, Dr Ashni Singh, has engaged with the sub-treasuries and the Accountant General’s department regarding this issue.

“We will hold the accounting officers in the ministries and the other agencies responsible for the breaches here. We will, first of all, see whether the engagement the Minister of Finance had with the accounting officers and those responsible for processing payments, has led to an improvement in this situation. We will give it a few weeks, maybe a couple of months to see how it’s working,” Dr Jagdeo said.

However, if the problem persists, the vice president said that the government will explore additional steps to address it.

VP Jagdeo also acknowledged that this lengthy wait time is warranted in some cases, such as where the requisite documents are not submitted.