Sunday, May 14, 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017
Happy St., Patricks day!
This has been a very tense week. We learned that we were suppose to have contracts
with all of our contractors, site monitors and anyone who has worked with us this
whole last year. We have been here for more than a year and we are just now finding
out about this. The reason for the contracts? - are you ready for this: Sierra Leone
charges all contractors not only the normal Value Added Tax (15%) but then they
charge an added 5% on all materials and they call it a withholding tax. The 5%
withholding tax. . . censored. Between . . Censored. . . tribes and bribes these people
will never get ahead. Our contractors did not know this and we were approved a
500,000,000 Leone project based on his quote. He knew about the GST tax (15%) but
not about the 5%. His tax on the 5% is 14,000,000 Leones. That comes right off of his
profit which leaves him nothing. He has not signed the contract and Don told him to
think about it over the weekend and come talk to us on Monday. He said he was going
to his supplier and see if he would come down in price. This whole thing stinks. Don
was so upset he and the Finance Department in Accra went head to head. Tempers
were in full force. When we were in Accra for financial training in January this tax was
never brought up. Probably because Sierra Leone is the only country that is doing this.
But in January we were also told by the legal department they were working on
contracts for Ghana and Nigeria but have not done anything for Sierra Leone yet. When
they do they will send us a template. Which has not happened. So now here we are
with this huge project that has to be done in the dry season and we are running out of
time and Accra wants us to have contracts for the contractor and the site monitors but
they have no contract to help us with. Don has been writing contracts all week and
attachments, etc, etc, etc. Guidance from Accra has been like pulling teeth. He has
mentioned more than once never again will we do a huge project and involve SLC or
Accra. We will stick to the smaller ones that we can handle alone. He is willing to let
this project go just because of all the red tape and lack of cooperation. Our contractor
will decide if we go ahead with it. We had a meeting this morning with the community
leaders, chairmans, and chiefs from the 7 communities involved in this project. There is
a lot of excitement. An estimated 107,000+ people will have clean drinking water 12
months out of the year if this project comes to fruition. The water we will be capturing
is from springs that come out of the mountain and is not being captured by anyone. It
just runs out and is called "waste water" because it is being wasted. The local people
do not understand how to capture the water and . . . The rest of my thoughts are
censored. . . This is a very sad country.
The streams are dried up and there is only a trickle of water in the rivers with the
exception of some pools of water in the river. People are suffering for water. March is
the driest hottest month of the year. Rain does not come until late June or early July
with the exception of a spotty rain shower in April and May.

No comments:

Post a Comment