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Department Of Roads Resistant To Change: Tikoduadua

Roads that were supposed to last 20 years were falling apart after five years under the tenure of the previous Department of Roads, says the Minister for Infrastructure, Pio Tikoduadua.
13 Feb 2015 12:04
Department Of Roads Resistant To Change: Tikoduadua

Roads that were supposed to last 20 years were falling apart after five years under the tenure of the previous Department of Roads, says the Minister for Infrastructure, Pio Tikoduadua.

It was a scathing critique of sorts by Mr Tikoduadua that emphasised the urgency of Government reforms.

“The DNR didn’t have enough professional engineers. The ones who were there, were stretched too thin to effectively manage the network. Emigration of skilled and experienced engineers also meant that many of the staff lacked the experience and training needed to manage a difficult network,” he said.

He questioned the professionalism of the former Department of Roads and its 1800 staff.

“No meaningful performance targets that related to the service to be delivered, no real measures of success, apart from spending budget and most importantly, there were no sanctions if things weren’t done right.”

He pointed out the legacy of such an approach, evident in the poor state of infrastructure around the country.

“Bridges that should have been standing for 50 to 100 years only lasted 10 years because of inferior materials being used in construction. Short-term thinking that gave us cheap solutions, like the Yasawa-i-rara jetty that collapsed in the first big storm that came along after it was built,” he said.

The final straw, he said, was the poor attitudes towards reform by staff of the former Department of Roads.

“Those in DNR knew that the transition was going to happen, however, no one took ownership of making that change because of the fear of disturbing their comfort zones. There was too much short-term thinking; resistant to adopting a professional approach and more importantly being accountable to the people of Fiji,” Mr Tikoduadua said.

The Minister was delivering a ministerial statement on the transition of the Department of Roads to the Fiji Roads Authority.

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