July 9, 2024

FG gives contractors 3 months deadline on emergency road projects

Landmark property will be intact, no job will be lost — Umahi


John Alechenu, ABUJA

The Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi has given a three (3) months ultimatum to contractors handling the 260 emergency road projects awarded under the Renewed Hope administration of President Bola Tinubu to deliver or risk revocation.

He insisted that the projects must be delivered in line with the standards and conditions contained in the contract they entered into.

According to the Minister’s Special Adviser (Media), Hon. Orji Uchenna Orji, the ultimatum was issued during a meeting of the management of the Federal Ministry of Works with the contractors handling the various projects and the Federal Controllers of Works held at the Ministry’s headquarters, Mabushi-Abuja yesterday.

He said, “These Renewed Hope emergency road projects were appropriated in the 2023 Supplementary Budget to bring immediate intervention on the completely failed parts of critical federal roads nationwide to restore the serviceability level of the affected roads.

“The Honourable Minister listed about 37 contractors who have achieved little or no milestone in the project delivery since the contracts were awarded and warned that such contractors must mobilize effectively to the site latest Wednesday 10th July 2024 or face contract termination.

Orji quoted Umahi as saying, ” If after the deadline for mobilization to the site, any contractor fails to comply, the job shall be terminated by effluxion of time as the contract is for a time limit of 3 months.

“Any contractor whose job has stayed for more than 3 months without completion after the issuance of award letter must seek and obtain approval for extension of time from the Federal Ministry of Works”.

According to Orji, the defaulting contractors, most of whom are handling emergency road projects in Yobe, Jigawa, Zamfara, Benue, Kogi, Abia, Anambra, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and River States, were cautioned against unnecessarily delaying projects given to them.

He explained that the minister warned that the projects awarded to them must be delivered in three 3 months because no excuse of security challenges or lack of mobilization funds would justify the sufferings they are subjecting road users or shield them from being blacklisted as constituting a cog in the wheel of progress in the efforts of the Renewed Hope administration in revolutionizing road infrastructure for Nigeria’s economic prosperity.

Orji quoted Umahi as saying, “The people are suffering, the President is having sleepless nights in his efforts to fix our road infrastructure to help our economy, and people will be given jobs and they are telling us stories.

“There have been jobs awarded by this ministry in the past and money paid, and the contractors would hold the money, and they would say it’s a security problem. Didn’t you know about the security situation before you got the job?

Umahi also ordered Federal Controllers of Works to ensure proper supervision of projects in their sites and be abreast with the contract awarded, amount, date of award, time line, review date, extension of time, argumentation granted and whether the contractor is on site.

He reiterated that mobilization funding under the Standard Conditions of Contract is not a condition precedent for them to move to the site but it is at the discretion of the Federal Ministry of Works and can be made available only to contractors who can undertake through affidavit of commitment to complete the job within three months of mobilization.

The Minister further said, “Our new policy is that if you want mobilization and we are happy to give you, you will abide by the conditions.

“One is that there will be no review of any component of the mobilization given. Two, we will give you 30% and you will do 30% of work before we can give you another money. So please, mobilization is not compulsory. Is that clear?

“Again, emergency projects are not mobilized. The rule is that in emergency projects, you will go and do it 100 percent, and then you submit your papers. We now pay you 80% and send your documents to BPP. When they approve, we pay you the balance of 20 percent “

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Yakubu Adam Kofarmata, (PhD) said gone were the days when contractors were taking the country for granted and could afford to delay in job delivery for years after collecting mobilization and would keep feeding on the VOP.

He charged contractors to brace up to the new spirit of “Nigeria first,” introduced in the Federal Ministry of Works under the Renewed Hope administration of Mr. President.

Kofarmata said, “Honestly, we have a stake. It is about the Nigerian nation. We don’t have any other country other than Nigeria. Believe me, we are pushing the Honorable Minister right now to stop considering this VOP and augmentation, because, there is no reason, after being given an award letter, you come and say you are waiting for payment for six months.

“Please, let us consider the nation first. Once we put Nigeria first. You see that things will move.”