18 February 2013

Nigeria: Maku Laments Delay in FG Projects

Port Harcourt — Information Minister Labaran Maku has called on the contractor handling the remodelling project of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Inter-Bau, to expedite action in order to meet its April deadline.

He made the call yesterday when the National Good Governance Tour team went on an inspection of the project.

Maku, who expressed displeasure over the contractor's inability to speed up work on the site despite a deadline extension, said it is imperative that efforts are intensified to complete the project in good time so as to ameliorate hardship faced by travellers who use the facility.

Earlier, the project manager, Ndika Okechukwu, blamed the slow pace of work on challenges arising from changes in the bill of quantity, but Maku said contractors ought to have the capacity to absorb minor changes in executing projects.

"We are worried about the pace of work. Each time I come here, I do not see intensity of work at the airport and this has to change. This project ought to have been delivered with the Lagos airport but all we hear are excuses. I don't want to come back here in April and you will be telling us stories," he said.

The project, which cost N777 million was initially slated for completion last December.

The minister also expressed disappointment at the slow pace of work exhibited by contractors handling the Yenegwe-Okaki-Kolo road in Bayelsa State.

The project, which was awarded to Enerco Nig Ltd in 2009 at the cost of N10 billion, was billed for completion in November 2011, but it is still at 36 per cent completion stage.

Maku said if the contractors truly want to meet the December 2013 deadline they must intensify activities on the site.

"This is a very difficult terrain for road construction, especially when the rains begin so there should be no delays," he said.

Federal Controller of Works in Bayelsa State, Charles Okonmah, blamed the slow pace of work on inadequate budgetary provision and delay in payment for certified work.

He, however, assured that accelerated progress will be witnessed on the work as the contractors have fully remobilized to ensure the deadline is met.

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