President Muhammadu Buhari may havedecided to intervene in the row between the contractors handling construction projects in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the FCT administration over the non payment of outstanding debts valued at N111billion.
The contractors have been agitating for payment of the debt and have refused to return to site months after pulling out over the outstanding payments. The debts piled up between 2003 and 2015.
The presidential intervention is coming on the heels of a recent appeal by the FCT administration to President Buhari on the need for quick settlement of the contractors’ bills.
“Mr President may wish to be informed that the authority’s indebtedness to its contractors handling various projects being funded from the statutory budget stands at N111,681,186,045.56,” the permanent secretary, John Chukwu disclosed in a recent letter to the president.
The indebtedness, Chukwu explained, “has resulted in the slow pace of work, partial withdrawal from site, and in some cases, total abandonment.”
The permanent secretary drew the president’s attention to the mass retrenchment of workers by the companies, saying the move has negatively affected the socioeconomic life of the residents of the FCT.
Further delay in paying the monies owed the contractors, Chukwu added, “will result in the non-completion of the projects on schedule, and the eventual cost of the projects will overrun in the forms of claims for time extensions, delayed payments, currency fluctuations and variations of prices of basic construction materials over time.” He sought presidential approval to use some “accrued funds in the FCT treasury” to settle some of the contractors.
An FCT official disclosed that apart from companies like Kakatar Nigeria Limited handling the Kyami and Maitama extension districts, most of the major companies, especially the ones with large number of expatriates, have pulled out of site.