FG Begins Verification Exercise To Clear N1.5trn Debt Owed Contractors

Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi has disclosed that the Federal Government was going to start a verification exercise for contractors in order to clear the backlog of 1.5 trillion naira accumulated debt owed them.

Umahi gave the hint on Thursday, January 11, 2024, during a meeting with contractors working on Federal roads across the country at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.

He exclaimed, “we were said to have inherited a certain amount of debt from contractors, we’ve escalated these debts to Mr president and the National Assembly people are aware.

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“What we have done is to take up a verification committee, about 6 of them, 1 per zone, so you are directed to come forward, all contractors for these verifications of the debts and you have to give us proof from scratch on how these debts were generated and the verification team have the power to look at it and say yes or no… because 1.5trillion naira is not a joke.”

The Minister queried some contractors who had given themselves a long break from work during the festive period and urged them to return to the site.

“Return to site, even if you are being owed, provision had been made in the budget for you, we mean business in 2024, we want to work with contractors that’ll mean business with us. I wouldn’t want you to keep giving all kinds of excuses when you have a job to do”, he said.

In another development, the Minister disclosed the government’s plan for the year:

“We are looking at 150 kilometres of roads to be completed in each of the states and the Federal Capital Territory in 2024. That is over 5,000 kilometres, and that will be a good one to start with”, he said.

The Former Ebonyi State Governor further disclosed that, “the Bureau of Public Procurement has approved over 80% of requests for palliative projects.

“Mr. President has graciously released 50% of funds on palliative work, and so he wants to see action in all the 36 States and Abuja”.

Therefore, “those who indicated interest in the palliative project should please come to the Ministry to collect award letters and complete documentation”, Umahi instructed.

He assured them that the Ministry would consider the review of contracts previously consummated in line with set parameters and prevailing economic situations and that all generated certificates would be verified and paid accordingly while urging them to ensure that all issues of contract variations were brought to the notice of the relevant departments of the Ministry.

The Minister also reiterated his warning, that only engineers registered and certified by the Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) must be engaged in doing any road project across the country.

Stressing that going forward, contractors should ensure that the shoulders of the roads they built are done with concrete to avoid untimely failure, also charged the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to be on its toe in maintaining highways across the country.

He disclosed that President Tinubu had directed that the operations of the country’s sole federal road maintenance body be reviewed for enhanced performance.




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