By Chidi Nkwopara, Owerri
Imo State Government says it has asked for refunds from commercial banks that issued Advance Payment Guarantee, APG, bonds to the contracting firms that failed to deliver on their respective jobs.
The Commissioner for Works, Chief Ralph Nwosu, who disclosed this while briefing journalists yesterday in Owerri, explained that “the action followed the inability or unwillingness of the contracting firms to deliver on the road projects”.
His words: “Government has no business running after the contractors. Government is happy that no contract was awarded without an APG from banks. This is why government decided to ask the banks to refund our money. Nobody can run away with government money.”
Answering a question, the Commissioner said that “although no money has so far been recovered from the defaulting firms and their banks, we are assuring the citizenry that government will ultimately recover the monies, even as we are aware that it may take some time.”
Giving a graphic account of what the Senator Hope Uzodimma administration has so far done on Imo roads, in the past one year, Chief Nwosu said that no fewer than 49 projects are ongoing in the state.
He said: “No fewer than 49 road projects are currently going on, in different parts of the state. It is also true that they are at different stages of completion. About 28, out of the 49 road projects, were inherited from the previous administration.
“Since government believed in continuity, it allowed the contractors to continue with the jobs. However, we were forced to review and terminate the contracts of those were either not ready, ill-prepared or outrightly unwilling to work at our pace, and deliver on the projects.
“If the right things were done in the past wasted eight years, nobody would have been talking about Owerri municipal roads. We would have been thinking of the several rural roads that have remained impassable during the rainy season.”
On whether the state government intends to borrow to complete the road projects, the Commissioner said: “We must work with what we have without compromising quality.”