Government stands to save at least $36 million in ‘bad’ contracts left by the previous administration, Prime Minister Mia Mottley has said in a fiery, update on her administration’s first six months.
In an End of Year Ministerial Statement in Parliament, Mottley issued a stern warning to any company or individual with plans of trying to hold Government hostage.
“Those hoping that this Government will be taken in like the last Government was and become submitting and yielding, often for a payment or two . . . had better abandon hope for all of that right now,” Mottley declared.
“We draw the line today. No more and never again.”
Her comments have come just one week after Minister of Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams accused Innotech Services Limited of trying to “bully Government” after the contractor removed several water tanks after the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) failed to pay its outstanding debt.
During her hour-long presentation, Mottley said Government was currently renegotiating several contracts which had been awarded by the previous administration, including BWA contracts.
The Prime Minister said it was expected Government expects to save over $30 million alone by altering contracts which it had with the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) and the BWA.
Mottley contended that many of those contracts locked Government into unfair arrangements for long periods.
“We need also to remedy the unfortunate and the egregious aspects of what we inherited as contractual liabilities from the last Government. We have been renegotiating a number of one-sided contracts struck by the last Government.
“While we are not finished, we are now confident that we can save at least $36 million per year from renegotiating contracts struck during the previous administration with the BWA and SSA alone . . . . In one contract we hope we can save at least $17 million per year over the remaining life of the contract, which is for at least another 10 years,” Mottley disclosed.
“That is more than it cost us to pay the salaries of all who have been sent home from Central Government, which is almost 1000 workers and they come up to $29 million a year.”
And while Mottley maintained that Government was not asking companies or individuals to underprice their products or services, she said her administration was not prepared to pay exorbitant prices, insisting that a middle ground must be reached.
“What is important to remember is that we are not asking for any companies to sell goods and services at below market prices, not one. But equally, taxpayers should not be required to pay egregious amounts such that companies can get back their investment in extremely short order, in some cases a year, or two or three, when we would expect them normally to have a return that carries them out over a much longer period,” Mottley told the Lower House.
“I want to say simply that under my watch nobody, and I mean nobody, is going to be allowed to juck out the eye of this Government,” she added, while pointing out that the process of reviewing those contracts would continue into the next calendar year.