By Victoria Ojeme and Fortune Eromosele
A group of agro contractors Wednesday, gave the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD, a one week ultimatum to make payments owed to the contractors.
The agro group, under the aegis of the Federal ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Contractors, stated that they duly bided for, were prequalified and awarded contracts for various jobs of about N40 billion in 2018 by the FMARD, therefore till date, are yet to be paid for these jobs executed.
The group condemned this act and said it is an action that can tarnish the image of this administration.
Speaking at a briefing with journalists in Abuja, the coordinator Mr. Daniel Mozie said some contractors of 2018 projects were selectively paid from the 2019 appropriation and some of the money were hurriedly warehoused in individual staff account and unnamed transit accounts to the sum total of about N17 billion to beat the 2019 appropriation deadline by the FMARD.
He explained that visits to the FMARD were futile and there is no intention of the FMARD to make payments.
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According to him, “The Ministry grand stranded and said they are not going to pay 2018 contracts and projects with 2019 appropriation whereas N30 billion of 2018 appropriation was used to pay 2017 debts, and another N7.2 billion was used from 2018 appropriation to procure an uncompleted building that was not appropriated for in 2018 by FMARD.
“We are also saying that even that 2019 project fund should not be disbursed until 2018 contracts are executed, duly executed, certificated and paid. And again in order to avoid a wholesome of the achievement the present government made in agric. And we are saying again that the federal government should come to our aid and see us as people that are able and ready to join hands with them, in order to make greater strides into this particular sector”.
Mozie noted that their own money was used to execute these projects and therefore urged the federal government to compel FMARD to pay 2018 contractors the debt being owed for projects executed without further delay.
He said, “Pay 2018 contractors immediately before paying 2019 executed projects because N10 billion from 2019 appropriation was used to pay some selected 2018 contractors.
“To avoid the erosion of the huge achievement made in Agric by the government of President Mohammadu Buhari, the Ministry should be directed to immediately pay us”.