Despite the huge 1.2 billion naira debt hanging on the neck of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) for various projects executed by indigenous contractors, the Association of Indigenous Contractors of FCT has commended the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, for his believe in them.
According to the Chairman of the Association, Chief Emmanuel Jimoh Ehikwe, the Association decided to commend the Minister, notwithstanding the huge N1.2 debt the FCT Administration owes to its members, as because he has tried to offset the debt, but it appears that the short fall in funding delaying its release.
Ehikwe, who made this point while addressing newsmen on Tuesday, in Abuja, said the Association recognises the multiplier effects of the consistent and sustained payment of the members by the Senator Bala –led FCT Administration for various projects executed in the Territory.
This, he said, has bolstered the welfare of many people especially the labour force and other artisans who are engaged in one form of work or another in the execution of projects, especially in the rural areas.
“It’s true that our members are been owed N1.2 billion but he (FCT Minister) has been paying gradually to both our members and non-members whose payment were matured.
“We are not quick to forget that in June this year, 90 percent of what is owed members of the association were cleared completely.
“It’s also right to note that not all contractors in FCT are members of the association, but all the members of the association are contractors in FCT,” he stressed.
However, acknowledging the obvious challenges of insufficient fund, Chief Ehikwe appealed to the Minister to put into consideration, the timely funding need of the contractors in ensuring that various contracts are executed as at when due.
“Though, there’s obvious decline in funding of project due to having many needs with limited funds, but we appeal to the Minister that whenever the financial situation of the FCT improves, we shall appreciate your consideration to allocate more funds for settlement of our outstanding huge bills,” he added.
Furthermore, he noted that if due consideration is given to indigenous contractors as being done to the multinationals executing different life transforming projects in Abuja, the local firms would gradually grow to meet and compete with the international companies, and as a result, contribute to the growth of the economy.
On his part, the Secretary of the Association, Chief Martin Ezendu, who disclosed that most of the projects executed by the indigenous contractors were rural based, however noted that members of the Association played critical roles in completing projects in Government Technical Secondary school, Garki, FCT College of Education, Zuba among others within the City Centre.
He however buttressed the earlier position of the Chairman regarding the efforts of the Minister to offset debt owed contractors, saying that it is only the kind of support the development of indigenous companies in their quest to compete with the multinationals operating in the FCT and the country at large.