Contractors Threaten Agric Ministry Over N17bn Debt
Contractors that handled the 2018 procurement in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, have threatened to take legal action against the Ministry over N17billion debt
The leader of the Group, Daniel Mozie, yesterday said they had picketed the Ministry severally, and extracted a promise from the Minister, Sabo Nanono, and Permanent Secretary, Dr Mu’azu Abdulkadir, to pay up but to no avail.
He lamented that some contractors have lost their lives due to their inability to bear the harassment from financial institutions from where they had borrowed money to fund the contracts since they were not given mobilisation money.
He said the actual sum being owed contractors, who participated in the 2018 project, is about N17billion and not N48billion being branded about. He said the N48bion is actually the lump sum for the payment of 2017-2019 liability.
He said Ministry has the tradition of using the budget release for current year to pay that of previous year’s, saying for instance that budget liability of 2018 was paid with 2019 budget, but Abdulkadir came and distorted the arrangement, which is why they are yet to be paid.
Mozie disclosed that part of reasons the Ministry was unable to pay the 2018 contractors was because of the N7.5billion spent in purchasing uncompleted building in the Federal Capital Territory.
He also alleged that they are not being paid because the directors are more interested in their cut, and given that the incumbent Permanent Secretary will soon retire by October, he appears less-interested to pay.
He said they learnt that some selected contractors who were paid from the 2019 budget actually paid 5percent of their contract sum.
He said Abdulkadir had promised to pay them the money from the 2019 budget, but later rescinded, saying the 2019 procurement performed 90-95 per cent, and as such, there is no way they can pay the money.
He said the Permanent Secretary had even promised to set aside N500million to pay some them, and had urged the Ministry to pay some contractors being owed between N3 and 8million, but said there is no money to pay the contractors.