By Henry Umoru
Federal government said at the weekend that it has concluded arrangements to take punitive measures against its contractor, Autobahn Techniques for its failure to supply the entire 5000 motorized tricycles also known as Keke NAPEP.
According to the government, the contract had been terminated while NAPEP requested a refund to the tune of N700 million, being the balance of 1714 units of the tricycles the company was alleged to have failed to supply at the expiration of the deadline given by the federal government.
Addressing Journalists at the weekend, the National Coordinator of NAPEP, Dr.Magnus Kpakol who noted that it was the last batch of the Keke NAPEP delivered by the supplier, Autobahn Techniques, Lagos, stressed that a total of three thousand, two hundred and eighty-six three wheeler tricycles, known as Keke NAPEP had been distributed to all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory by the agency through the grassroot association in accordance with the approval ofÂ President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua.
Kpakol who noted that with the contractual agreement, Autobahn Techniques was billed to supply 5000 units of the tricycles, said, â€œhe initially had challenges of port congestions necessitating several extensions by government. By June this year, he had supplied 3, 200 units. The bond expired end of July. We are suing him to collect the balance of N700 million representing the unsupplied units. What we want are the units of Keke or our money back.
â€œMr. Presidentâ€™s directive was for us to give him till the end of June. The bond has expired in July and we have informed the President of our intention to use legal means to recover governmentâ€™s money from the company.Â â€œSo far, the Keke NAPEP scheme has been a huge success judging from the average income of operators put at about a million naira per annum.
â€œIt would be recalled that the Keke NAPEP project was started in 2001 and aimed at converting the legion of area boys from an idle and wasting national human capital into gainfully and productive workforce and creating mass gainfully employment through the establishment of large numbers of small scale transport business particularly for the youths. It was envisaged as a practical opportunity for creating technical entrepreneurs and related small business to facilitate a smooth and appropriate technological transfer for the evolution of made-in-Nigeria tricycles/vehicles.
â€œContrary to what is being peddled in the media, distribution of the keke was done in accordance with the Presidentâ€™s directives and all the spare parts for the scheme have been duly supplied.
â€œAdditionally, the method of the award of contract for the supply of the KEKEs was in accordance with due process as three companies quoted for the initial supply and the best was selected. For avoidance of doubt, the keke NAPEP contract got due process approval and was never shrouded in secrecy. With the 50% discount as approved by government, the KEKEs are being sold to qualified Nigerians at N295, 793 including 15% being the cost of training, handling and insurance chargesâ€.