Nepal protests over halted project payments

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20196

The Federation of Contractors Association of Nepal (FCAN) has embarked on a third phase of national protests against the Government’s non-payment for completed projects.

The Federation of Contractors Association of Nepal (FCAN) has demanded the government fulfill a critical 10-point agenda aimed at bolstering the nation’s construction industry, warning that the government’s actions have put the industry on the brink of collapse.

Protests, which began at the end of July, reflect contractors’ frustration over the government’s failure to address concerns and this week saw the beginning of a third phase of protests in which contractors across the country took more significant action than before. 

The latest protests have seen 50 protesters arrested, including Ang Dorji Lama, the senior vie-president of FCAN. That followed moves by some protesters to padlock the Department of Roads office and the Department of Water and Irrigation. 

What are contractors calling for? 

​FCAN’s 10-point list of demands is focused heavily on halted payments for completed projects following a financial crunch hitting the national government. With the work completed, contractors are unable to make their own payments to subcontractors and finance their own businesses. The protests have become the main attempt to press the government to resolve the issue quickly. 

The payments are not the only cause of concern, however. FCAN has also called for a range of contract extensions and price adjustments to reflect high inflation affecting the whole construction industry.

It is believed that contractors are now owed 50 billion Nepalese Rupees ($375m) and thousands of contractors have donned safety jackets, helmets and black armbands for peaceful demonstrations, demanding that their concerns be heard and addressed.

​The FCAN protest has garnered support from political leaders and private organisations within Nepal, although the government has yet to respond to protester demands. There is also international support for FCAN, with the International Federation of Asian and Western Pacific Contractors’ Associations (IFAWPCA) promoting awareness of the escalating situation abroad. 

The immediate past president of IFAWPCA, Mohamed Ali Janah, will be speaking to international audiences about how industry can influence politicians at the Global Infrastructure Conference in Singapore in September.