FG owes road contractors N2.7trn-Fashola

The Federal Government is owing road contractors over N2.7 trillion for projects executed over the years. Minister of Power, Works and Housing. Babatunde Fashola has said.

Fashola made the disclosure yesterday during an oversight assessment visit of the 2017 budget by members of the Toby Okechukwu- headed House Committee on Works to the Federal Ministry of Works.

According to the Minister, a major portion of the debt was inherited from previous administrations and that poor budgetary allocation made it impossible to settle.
The debts, he said are made up of completed projects, inherited claims of previous years and ongoing projects across the country. “N2.792tn is the total contractual liability”, he said.

Fashola also revealed that N265.5bn worth of certificates had been generated for completed projects for the 2017 capital implementation, “We have not paid this money, but we have continued to work.There is no state in the country that one federal road project or another is not going on. We are present in every state and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The difference may be that the projects are not located in places where each of us may want them to be. So, the fact that payment has not been made does not mean that work is not being done”, he added.

He said the generated certificates indicates that 2017 budget performance on roads is 73 per cent and that efforts are ongoing to pay part of the liability.

The sum of N120 billion, he said was released in December 2017 for second quarter, adding that the difficult procurement process as contained in the Public Procurement Act had stunted the take off of many road contracts earlier awarded.

But Okechukwu and other members like chairman of Committee on Finance, Babangida Ibrahim, Pat Asadu, Solomon Bulus-Maren, Abubakar Kannike and Emmanuel Ekon expressed displeasure on why the government’s new 25 road projects were yet to take off.

To the observations of the members, Fashola said:
“”At both the informal and formal interactions with our parliamentarians, I have raised this issue of the lengthy procurement processes.It is an area that we all have to look into to see what can be done to fast-track the work before us.

“We have challenges with the award processes. Most of the time, the procurement process is very difficult. You have to do a lot of things. If you can come to our aid and amend the process, that will be helpful,” he said.

He added that any state that wishes to repair federal roads will be given the chance by the Federal Government the federal government. He gave examples of Lagos and Kaduna States, that have done such in their states with much success.
Okechukwu, Chairman of the committee said there is the need to enable the ministry work effectively and hence there might need to review the procurement act.

He said: “We’re aware of how the procurement process is. Most of the time, when you go to ministries, you see long queues of people waiting for the process. But on our part, we’ll have to look at the procurement process.

“The long process of procurement is not helpful. We need to look at the law again”.

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