Some contractors have expressed concern over the continued reluctance of the Federal Government to pay their outstanding N40 billion being the sum of the contract awarded to them and executed covering various projects in the 2018 fiscal year.
Speaking in Abuja on the outstanding debt, the Chairman of the Concerned Unpaid 2018 Contractors, Nwanebu Elias, said the projects were executed without collecting the 15 per cent mobilisation funds and two years after, the Federal Government has not paid them.
Elias said the projects were executed for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development by various contractors.
However, the Director of Information at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Theodore Ogaziechi, told Daily Trust that the Ministry would flout the Procurement Act if it used 2019 or 2020 budget to pay 2018 contract awards.
He, however, said that the ministry was “not unmindful of the fact that there are outstanding 2018 payments to contractors neither is the ministry resting on its oars to get the issue addressed.
“One thing that is certain is that you cannot use 2019 or 2020 Appropriation to pay 2018 contract awards as prescribed by the Procurement Act. Therefore, bearing in mind that the 2018 payments lapsed with 2018 Appropriation, the ministry is in consultation with the Federal Ministry of Finance for funding to pay the outstanding liabilities,” he stated.
Elias lamented: “We are yet to be paid money for those jobs we executed and certificates of job completion issued. This is despite the known facts that loans were procured in executing these jobs by the contractors without mobilization fees being paid to them.”
The coordinator of the concerned contractors, Daniel Mozie, said some of the contractors were in huge debt now as the loans collected from banks are piling up interests.
He called for the intervention of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for the payment of the liabilities.
Elias, who chairs the forum of the concerned unpaid 2018 contractors, gave the ministry a one-week ultimatum last Wednesday, warning that if the government fails to pay the debt, his members will be compelled to seek legal redress.