Some aggrieved contractors handling projects under the Federal Ministry of Works have urged the minister, David Umahi, to pay them money for jobs completed as the delay in payment was causing them untold hardship.
The Office of Accountant General of the Federation had recently released N57 billion for contracts funded through the national budget. Such monies are released on a monthly basis in line with World Bank’s bottom-up policy where details of all works completed are always sent to the office of the Accountant General which, in turn, releases money for payment.
Speaking to journalists yesterday in Abuja, the contractors claimed that such payments are being made to contractors who handled projects in different MDAs, except the ministry of works. Bolarinwa Akinpelu who spoke on behalf of the contractors wondered why the case of the ministry of works is different even as he appealed to President Bola Tinubu to direct Umahi to pay the contractors without further delay.
He said, “We collected loan facilities for these projects and need to pay back. Now that the projects have been delivered with a certificate of completion made available, why is Umahi delaying the payment since he has received the money from the AG’s office?”
Akinpelu alleged that the works minister, for reasons best known to him, had refused to direct for the contractor to be paid and accused him of grounding activities in the ministry. “Everything people see is mere window dressing. Umahi rarely treats files and only those with connections have their files treated,” he said.
Flanked by some contractors, Akinpelu said, “Contractors want to avoid a showdown or even litigation with the minister and the ministry hence our appeal to him to urgently pay us our money for projects delivered and certified okay.”
Akinpelu further alleged that Umahi directed the director of procurement to cancel some key contracts already awarded and which some of the contractors have started work, saying such actions could lead to litigation.
Their complaint is coming on the heels of claims by Umahi who, during a meeting with contractors handling road dualisation projects funded by the NNPC, said the federal government had N431bn ready to pay contractors.