By Jude Njoku
Against the backdrop of allegations that the procurement of most civil and heavy engineering projects are inflated because there are no checks and balances inbuilt in the procurement process, the Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI), the umbrella body for over 90 key players in the nation’s construction industry, has denied any charges of corruption levelled against its members.
Most quantity surveyors posit that because adequate costing procedures are not put in place in the process leading to the award of civil and heavy engineering contracts, the cost is usually hiked. According to them, it is wrong for the engineers to do the design and also the costing, an area they see as their exclusive preserve.
But speaking to Vanguard Homes & Property, the President of FOCI, Engr Williams denied such allegations of corruption.
“I said it last year, none of our members participates in anything called corruption. You talked about there being no checks and balances. A tender is given and are analysed by the Bureau of Public Procurement as we have it now. In most cases, jobs are given to the least bidder that is able to perform, not the highest bidder because he can equally perform. But if short listing has been done and all the documentation have proven that you can do the job, you are given the job which in most cases, will go to the least bidder. And where a job has gone to the least bidder, where has corruption come into it? And the Bureau of Public Procurement is different from the Ministry of Works because the Ministry will channel everything through that body who will ensure that tendering is done and once selection is done, it comes back to the Ministry of Works or the different Ministries to implement and I know that’s what happens in the states. They have tenders board that will adjudicate before the job is done by the different departments or Ministry,” he clarified.
On alleged shoddy jobs by some contractors, Engr Williams posited that any contractor found to have compromised standards should be blacklisted.
“I want to respect your expert knowledge inn infrastructural construction work but I don’t know of any shoddy job that is going on now. If individual ministries have their officers who are to check the quality of what is being constructed and no certificate will be issued for any shoddy construction except there is a collusion. About two years ago, we talked about collapsed structures and we raised the issue of liability of doing the work as specified by the design. It is not only the construction industry but also those that are issuing out the contract. Any contractor that has been found to have done a shoddy job should be de-listed. Such organisation should not invite such companies again for the issuance of further work because any job you do must have a life-span. You buy a shirt now, you don’t expect that you wear that shirt and the following day, you wash it and all the colouring of the shirt is gone. Any contractor that is doing shoddy jobs should be de-listed; we are not in support of that at all,” he said.