From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
Kaduna State government has said it has raised funds to settle all contract liabilities and urged contractors executing projects in the education sector to return to site.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Murtala Dabo, made the appeal in Kaduna yesterday during a meeting with contractors and consultants.
Dabo apologised to the contractors for the delay in payment despite their sacrifice and patience, attributed the development to scarcity of funds and competing demands.
“But things have changed and I am telling you, with all sincerity, that your money is now available. All you need to do is generate certificates and we will pay you.
“We want to complete all ongoing projects in the sector so we are ready to pay you, but when we give you money, we expect to see you on site.
“The Commissioner for Education, Dr Shehu Makarfi, has been struggling to get money for you to return to site and complete your job. I am telling you that the money is now available,” he said.
Earlier, Makarfi said that the sector got a reasonable allocation in the 2020 budget for capital projects, but stressed that only performing contractors would be considered for payment.
For the payment of outstanding contract liabilities, the commissioner said that the contractors must sign a commitment letter before they would be paid.
Makarfi stressed that all contractors must write to indicate how far they had gone and the expected time of completion of the project before they would be paid.
He, however, expressed that though some of the contractors had been paid, they refused to return to sites, a development he described as ‘displeasing’ to the government.
The commissioner said that all contractors who collected government money and refused to go back to site would be delisted.
He also said that the government had mandated all contractors to consult community leaders, when executing projects, as parts of efforts to strengthen community involvement in the execution of government projects for sustainability.
The major challenge affecting contract execution in the state, according to the contractors is lack of payment.
One of the contractors, Amaka Njinaka-Ogundipe of Etech, said she was given a contract without mobilisation but executed the project using her money, adding that the project was ready for hand over.
She, however, appealed to the state government to fulfill its side of the agreement by paying contractors as at when due.