PENATLY charges will be applied to hardware companies who fail to deliver material to the vast number of orders through the Government-funded Help for Homes initiative.
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said they would incur interest, which the companies had agreed to.
Several major hardware companies were called out for not fulfilling outstanding orders during the first trench of the initiative, which provides discounted rates on hardware material for homes destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Winston early this year.
“Once they complete outstanding orders, then they’ll be allowed into the second trench of hardware deliveries,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.
This second trench of deliveries has been allocated $20 million in the National Budget, with the Fijian Government also covering delivery costs to outer islands.
“We’ve also said to them that they need to pay us interest and they’ve essentially agreed to that and we’re formalizing that by way of a letter this week, so they’ll be paying interest rates and penalty charges now because we cannot essentially have them not deliver.”
Sayed-Khaiyum said they were looking at interest rates of up to four per cent and even higher penalty charges.
He noted that practical challenges had also surfaced during deliveries, with some customers not being able to be contacted or relocating to new areas and others informing hardware companies that they did not have need the material because they lacked carpenters to construct.
“In the next week, we are carrying out further audits or trials to see exactly how many people don’t want it anymore, how many people cannot be located. Some have said that because they have had their home built, they don’t need it now,” the Attorney-General added.
He noted that many people had been able to rebuild their homes, for which an estimated 40,000 were destroyed by the Category-5 TC Winston in mid-February.