Commission on Audit audit finds 299 irrigation projects delayed

THERE are at least 299 irrigation contracts amounting to P20.7 billion that remain unfinished, the Commission on Audit (CoA) said.

In its audit report to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) for the year 2018, the CoA said these 299 contracts  have been delayed for up to 2,287 calendar days due to poor performance of contractors and other factors.

The CoA also revealed that liquidation damages were not imposed against contractors who defaulted in 44 contracts amounting to P12.24 billion.

Aside from the unfinished projects, the NIA has not yet terminated or rescinded 20 additional contracts which have incurred negative slippages.  The project cost has reached P9.039 billion.

The CoA identified one reason of significant delays is the performance of contractors and NIA’s “inadequate planning, inefficient execution of surveys and investigations and the recurring issues on the acquisition of Right of Way (ROW)”.

“Review disclosed that Management had not been able to fully address the recurring issue on considerable delays in the implementation of NIA projects,” CoA said.

“As at (sic) December 31, 2018, the aforesaid delays, ranging from 1 to 2,287 calendar days (CDs), had been noted in the implementation of 299 contracts/projects with total cost of P20.704 billion,” the report added.

The NIA is mandated to help the country’s program on rice self-sufficiency by infrastructure projects in line with irrigation and agricultural development.

Records showed that of the P20.7 billion projects, those with most funding were initiated by NIA’s Central Office (CO), with 55 contracts worth P17.63 billion. These were delayed by around 15 to 2,287 days.

Others are Ilocos Region Office’s ARISEP-Agno River Irrigation System Project (75 contracts, P870 million), projects in the Davao Region (30 contracts, P818.4 million), Balog-Balog Multipurpose Project (eight contracts, P392.9 million), and projects in Bicol Region (45 contracts, P366.3 million).