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Senate Accuses Works Ministry of Squandering N4billion

…Disagrees with Fashola’s Road Construction Proposals

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

ABUJA, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Senate Committee on Works has queried the Federal Ministry of Works over N4billion it gave out to 11 road contractors across the country last year as mobilization fees without any one of them moving to site to construct a meter of road not to talk of kilometers of roads awarded to them.

The committee also queried the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola for exempting some vital road networks in the country from votes earmark for road projects in the 2016 budget, vowing to rejig his list by including the exempted ones.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC Kano South), who drew attention of committee members to zero implementation of 11 road contracts awarded by the Ministry in the 2015 fiscal year despite payment of mobilization fees   said the minister must explain why the contractors went away with monies given to them without doing anything.

The Chairman of the Committee also directed the ministry to feed the committee with details of the contracts awarded in 2015 and their status at a later date.

Gaya said: “11 contractors have collected mobilization fees and there is zero implementation, some collected N500 million, some collected less than that based on records available before us and one of the contractors collected N1 billion.

“For instance in the case of dualisation of Otukpo township road, N1 billion was paid to the contractors.

“Minister you need to check that and give us details in the next meeting. There is no point giving a contractor mobilization fee when he cannot perform”.

But in his response, the Minister said not all the contractors who were mobilized had zero performance, saying “in my document, contract performance is not zero”.

He said:”Iis important to take the assessment that the committee has made on mobilization into context. In my document, contract performance is not zero.

“My understanding here is that going by the entire contract sum of N9.9 billion, by law, the contractors should get at least 15 percent to move to site.

“The part where we have zero performance in the document, if a contractor was supposed to get N1.5billion and he got N500 million, he cannot be mobilised. We will check and get back to you”.

He however said that though it was not in his nature to complain from taking responsibilities for whatever happens under his watch, but as minister of less than 100 days, he was not party to the said contracts.

“Things have been done in a manner that we have to just take them as we met them for the country to move forward”, he said.

On the 2016 budget proposal, the committee told the minister that it would rejig the list of road he presented to them for construction this year with the N268billion budgeted.

According to the committee, aside the ones listed, there are some others, that are vital for urgent construction that are not in the list but which they said, would be injected into it when drafting the final document.

“I appreciate your effort and concern Hon Minister, but we have to know what you are spending every year on the road and how to generate funds and see how we can achieve success”, the chairman said.

Roads listed under the budgeted N268billion for construction are Lagos-Ibadan N50billion, Abuja-Lokoja N10billion, Kano-Maiduguri N16billion, Ilorin/Jebba/Mokwa N6billion, concession of 2nd Niger Bridge N17billion.


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