By Stanley Onyekwere
For allegedly failing to pay liabilities owned to contractors, who supplied various items in the battle against COVID-19 pandemic in the Territory, the embattled FCT Administration,
Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola has been fingered by the aggrieved contractors as the behind their woes.
Our correspondent reports that representatives of over 300 affected contractors, claimed that they executed various COVID-19 contracts for the administration between March 2020 and April 2021, without being paid.
They alleged that they supplied various medical equipment and Personal Protective equipment and other things used in containing the pandemic.
However, the angry contractors as early as 10am stormed Area 11 where the offices of FCT Ministers; and that of the Permanent Secretary are located, and blocked the major entrances, in protest against the delayed payment, one year after.
One of the Contractors, Emmanuel Nwachendu, said, “ This is one whole year after the supply. The agreement states that two weeks after the supply, once you supply bring your invoice and you will be paid. This is one year running nothing.
“We supplies medical equipment, agents, PPE but since that last year it has been one story or the other. What we heard initially was that procurement processes was suspended and these money was supposed to have been paid withing two weeks, maximum 1 month, of supply. Some of us took loan to be able to meet up with the supply.
“This Permanent Secretary Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Adesola Olusade came and met with us he brought bout procurement process and that day we were over 300 contractors in the room, the hall becoming roudy, that was October 2020”.
He continued: “And they told us they were waiting for suplementary budget, that as soon as the suplementary budget is passed that we are going to be aid . As soon as the suplementary budget was passed, they asked us to to bring our documents which we did.
“ We followed it up to ensure that everyone made it. We followed the files, what is annoying was that they batched the files , they said they said they were paying is 80% and we told them go ahead and pay. And they paid the 1st batch but when it get to the second batch which has more contractors .
“ We even followed it up, from one department to the other, after the 5th week, the Permanent Secretary said for the 1st batch that he only paid those below N10m and there are some of us that are below N5 millon but were not paid”.
Meanwhile, Adesola, while addressing aggrieved contractors who are yet to be paid for jobs executed for the administration, reaffirmed its commitment to pay all outstanding liabilities owned to contractors who supplied various items in the battle against COVID-19 pandemic in the Territory.
Appealing to the contractors to exercise patience, he however, revealed that despite the challenges of funding, the administration has paid 109 contractors who supplied Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS) and 54 contractors in other Secretariats, Departments and Agencies (SDAs).
The Permanent Secretary who hinged the delay in payments to dwindling internal revenue generation and expected funds from the federal government, also expressed optimism that the contractors would be paid as soon as possible.
He stressed that the procurement for COVID-19 supplies cut across all the SDAs including Water Board, Abuja Environmental Protection Board, Federal Capital Development Authority, Social Development Secretariat, Education Secretariat amongst others.