By SUNDAY ABBA, Abuja
The Minister of Works, Engr David Umahi, has disclosed that President Tinubu’s administration inherited 1,800 kilometres, kms, of roads and a contract sum of about N14.1 trillion.
The Minister who was speaking while meeting with all contractors handling road dualisation projects and all ministry’s zonal directors at his office in Abuja on Thursday also disclosed that out of the said sum, N4 trillion is being paid for those projects, some of which, he said, had lasted for about 10 to 20 years.
“This Administration has 18,000 kilometre of roads and inherited a contract sum of about N14.1 trillion and out of which N4trillion is being paid in all those projects , some of the projects have lasted between 10 to 20years,” he said, charging the contractors and stakeholders to key into the Renewed Hope of Mr President.He expressed regret that some contractors have jerked up the contract sum by 100 per cent – the reason they are not getting paid, a statement signed by Mrs Blessing Lere-Adams, the head, Press and Public Relations in the ministry said.
“We are going back to the original concept of the projects and the necessity of any additional works and also see how we get a fair deal. Expecting an endorsement from the ministry of what is not acceptable to Nigerian Society of Engineers is not possible.
“Mr President understands road infrastructure, If I come before him with a contract of N44 billion reviewed to N144 billion as contract sum , I must be able to provide details of how the cost came about,” the Minister said
Also blaming the inability of some contractors to clear their certificates for payment as part of the reason they were not paid to date, Umahi reminded them that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, is funding 50 per cent of the contract sum and that the funding continues up to 2025, adding that the N431billion of the money which is ready for contractors but they have failed to clear their certificates.
“We have N431billion of money that is ready for contractors to clear but there is no certificate for it , if you are doing a job under Phase 1, make effort to make claims , if your job involves augmentation, go back to your regional director for understanding before I sign the certificate; any certificate I sign now I have to take account for it even when I have left office,” he said.
The Works Minister used the occasion to announce the ministry’s intention to focus on most of the dualised roads across the country.
He said “Why we are here now is to announce our intention to face most of the dualised roads in the country.”
He tasked the contractors to stick to one lane if their job has not gone up to 50% completion; he said he had also come up with Performance Bond meaning that all new projects would be guaranteed for 10years.
He urged all contractors that have built roads that cannot last up to ten years to write to the ministry to either stop work or rebuild the road to last 10years, warning that he would not listen to stories of failures on the roads due to overloading even as he enjoined all the contractors to cooperate with him on building roads with concrete technology as it was done both in India and Singapore.