Indigenous contractors handling the Federal Emergency Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) jobs have threatened a showdown with the management of the agency over the non-payment of over N4 billion owed them for jobs already completed since 2012.
The meeting of the Abuja chapter of the contractors ended on a rowdy note, as they accused their leadership of playing out a script written by the management of the agency.
They stated that despite assurances given to them by the Vice Chairman of the Abuja chapter of the indigenous contractors union, Engr. Mohammed Musa they are giving the agency a two weeks ultimatum to pay them of face the mother of all protests which will see them marching to the agency’s headquarters in Abuja and the National Assembly.
According to a member of the union, who spoke to newsmen on a Monday on the condition of anonymity.
“The contractors who have executed several projects for FERMA worth over N3 billion, these are jobs duly completed since January 2013. The terms of our agreement with FERMA states that jobs completed must be paid for within 60 days of submission of certificate of completion by the contractor; but in reality, the jobs completed since 2013 are still yet to be paid for over a year after,
“More worrisome is that that fact that despite the non-payment of these debts, we have it on good authority that more jobs are being awarded by FERMA to date and advance payments being made for these contracts, while contractors who have completed their jobs languish in poverty as many of them have had to forfeit their properties which was used as collateral to secure loans to execute the contracts” he added.
He stated that “many of the contractors accepted these contracts based on the stance of the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy that before any contract is awarded, the funds for the said contracts is released to the Ministry or Agency in question. Road contraction is one of the pivotal elements of this government’s transformation agenda, but the government is taking the credit of our labour without the necessary compensation.
“We are all determined to protest if nothing done to address our grievances are not met; that is why we gave them the two weeks at the end of which we embark of the protests” he said.
When contacted for comments, the Vice Chairman of the Abuja chapter of the Union Engr. Mohammed Musa said that he has been in constant talks with the top management of FERMA for the past ten months and that the assurances he gave his peoples at the union were based on the promises which he received from the management of the agency he however stated that none of the promises were yet to materialize.