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Finish 260 Emergency Projects in Three Months or Get Fired – Minister to Contractors

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The Minister of Works, Senator David Umahi, has issued an ultimatum to contractors handling 260 emergency projects.

The directive, announced during a meeting at the Federal Ministry of Works headquarters in Abuja on Monday, mandated all projects to be completed within three months or face termination.

A statement issued by the minister’s Special Adviser (Media), Orji Uchenna Orji, on Monday, gave details of the meeting.

These emergency projects, part of the 2023 Supplementary Budget, were initiated under the Renewed Hope administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to address severe road problems across various states.

Umahi emphasised the urgency of restoring critical federal roads, highlighting the economic impact and the administration’s commitment to infrastructure development.

“We cannot afford delays any longer. The suffering of our people and the President’s determination to improve our infrastructure demand swift action,” Umahi stated.

“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.”

He specifically identified 37 contractors who have made insufficient progress since the projects were awarded, warning them to mobilize by July 10, 2024, or face immediate contract termination.

The contracts are located in Yobe, Jigawa, Zamfara, Benue, Kogi, Abia, Anambra, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and River States.

The Minister dismissed excuses of security challenges or lack of mobilization funds as unacceptable, stressing that adherence to project timelines is non-negotiable.

He declared, “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?”

Moreover, the Permanent Secretary, Yakubu Adam Kofarmata, underscored a new policy framework emphasizing national interest and accountability.

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 Honourable 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.”

The ministry further clarified its stance on mobilization funding, stating that it will only be disbursed to contractors who pledge through an affidavit to complete their projects within the stipulated timeframe.

Umahi 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 mobilisation given. Two, we will give you 30% and you will do 30% of the work before we can give you another money.

“So please, mobilisation 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%, 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%.”

According to the minister, this measure aims to prevent misuse of funds and ensure projects proceed without undue delays.

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