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FG Goes Tough on Road Construction Companies, Condemns High Cost of Iron Rods

The Federal Government of Nigeria has made it categorically clear that it will no longer accept a situation where the contractors work lackadaisically with little or no regard for agreed timelines.
The Minister of Works, Engr. Dave Umahi, gave the warning Thursday, at the meeting he held with contractors and stakeholders to announce the approval granted BUA Group to construct 30km of the Lokoja- Benin Road under the Tax Credit Scheme.

The Minister stated, “Let me announce that we are very serious about the timing of our projects. We no longer allow contractors to determine how long they stay on site. We have to demand for time- table and we have to work according to the timetable, while we do everything to push for the money.

On the issue of excision of 30 km from their original contracts, the Minister sought the understanding of the contractors, explaining that considering the country’s current economic challenges,it is difficult to ignore the kind of offer made by BUA adding that this is being done in the interest of the Nigerian people. He said there is nothing strange about this kind of adjustment but if any of them felt otherwise they could go to court.

“By the powers vested on me as a representative of the employer and going by section 51 and 52 of the general conditions of contracts and special conditions, we are excising this 30 km in three locations, and that’s why these contractors are here. At Ekpoma we are excising 10 km by 2; at Auchi also by the road that you tee off to Uromi where you have that your bridge, front and back we are excising 10 km, then also in Okpella where BUA and Dangote factories are located, it is difficult to pass”, Umahi said.

“We like to notify Dantata and Sawoe that we’ve excised 20 km of their road and Mothercat also (10 km). We have to do this because out of N897b, what is only available under the NNPC fundingis only N122b, so you can’t keep the project with nothing being done so something must have to be done through any other way we know to do it. If you don’t like it you can go to court. We are doing it for the best interest of our people. If we give give you a job and we say we want you to cut off this because there is no money, fine. But if you want to do it also under tax credit, we can allow you to do it provided you are going to mobilize.”

He promised to send a request for the funding gap of over 770b to the President, adding, ” we must find the moñey.”

Meanwhile the Minister says he is willing to grant a 30% mobilisation to the contractors on the condition that it will be deployed to mutually agreed critical sections of the road and provision of affidavits deposed to by the contractors stating the completion date of such sections.

“Let me use this opportunity to talk to those who are selling steel. The cost of reinforcement is out of order. The dollar has come down and I commend Mr. President very seriously and the CBN governor. They have done the magic and it shows that God is with this administration. And so why should prices that went up during the unfortunate criminal boom of the dollar not bring down their price? I am taking that complain to Mr. President. Those who are selling reinforcement must bring down their price.

Sen. Engr. Umahi used the opportunity to bring up the matter of the failed sections of the Abuja- Lokoja Road which he said he had first raised in September 2023, about 6 months ago. He lamented that the portion constitutes a death trap and restated his demand that the contractors- RCC, Dantata &Sawoe- should fix it within the next 7 days failing which the government will be left with no choice than to carry out the repairs and recover the cost from any of the contractor’s outstanding payments.

Addressing the contractors’ excuse that the road was constructed 5 years ago, the Minister wondered whether the life span of their roads is 5 years. He said if that is the case they should put it in writing and submit it to the Ministry so it can be appropriately guided.

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