8 January 2013

Nigeria: Contractors Threaten to Stop Work On FGC Libraries

The contractors working on the construction of libraries in 11 Federal Government Colleges in several parts of the country have threatened to stop work for non-release of mobilisation fees.

In a report submitted to the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, the contractors noted that they had resorted to use their personal funds to build the libraries to the current stages and cannot continue if funds were not released to them.

At a meeting with the contractors in Abuja yesterday, Wike directed officials of the ministry to work on the contract files urgently noting that it was unfair not to facilitate release of funds to contractors who are using their funds to support the government.

He noted that the funds were already in the accounts of the ministry, but the delay was caused by the various processes which had to be followed before release of funds.

He gave the assurance that the monies would be made available within the next few weeks.

The minister urged the contractors to ensure that their bank details with the ministry are correct.

The Permanent Secretary, Dr. MacJohn Nwaobiola, said he and the Directors of Finance and Procurement had worked round the clock during the festive season to ensure facilitation of the payment and payment for contractors working on Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) projects of the ministry.

"At a stage, we had problems imputing these details on the Federal Ministry of Finance website, which was blocked and this affected our work," he added.

As the meeting progressed, the Minister expressed disappointment with some of the Consultants to library projects being constructed in government schools by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).

This was as discussions revealed that most of the consultants who are charged with overseeing the work of the contractors had never visited the site they were in charge of. Rather they were receiving progress reports over the telephone from the contractors.

Wike warned such consultants and said the government would not tolerate such impunity.

He urged the management of UBEC to consider hiring independent monitors to inspect the projects and assess the level of compliance with the agreed plans.

"This attitude where your present report does not tally with what is on ground would not be acceptable. Do not take government projects as if nothing would happen, something would happen," he said.

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