Federal Capital Territory clears debt owed to contractors

Hudu Yakubu, Abuja

A sum of N57.6 billion has been paid to contractors handling various projects in the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The Nigerian Federal Capital Territory Administration paid the sum in the areas of water provision, roads and railway construction, health, education, as well as environmental sanitation structures and services.

The FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello, who was represented by the Director of Treasury, Isiaku Ismaila made the disclosure during a press briefing.

Conforming to master plan
He said there has been massive return of contractors to site, following the payments.

Ismaila said the administration put in place strategic plans to ensure that all ongoing projects that conform to the Abuja master plan were completed.

According to him, “indigenous contractors who were owed N100 million and below have all been paid, especially those with matured bills that were provided for in the statutory budget,  funding for these payments were mobilised through transparency, diligent and judicious management of funds without leakages in the system.”

“627 Indigenous contractors being owed N100 million and below, who have matured bills and which provisions were made in the statutory budget were paid the sum of N6.9 billion in the last quarter of 2016.  Another N3.3b billion has been paid to 403 other contractors with bills less than 100 million in the first quarter of 2017.”

He further stated that, “Happily, from the last quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2017, the number of liability is coming down, in fact more than 50 per cent because there were some that their bills were not matured as at the time we were making payments in December. So, we felt that every contractor within the statutory year who has been able to perform and shown good faith on site is able to raise bills.”

He said that road construction; city cleaning and environmental sanitation were being given adequate attention by the current FCT Administration, as they are seen as very critical to the capital city.

Retiree’s settlement
The Minister also said that funds have been fully released for the health insurance scheme of all FCTA workers, while all counterpart funds have been appropriately paid to development partners of the FCTA.

The Minister stated that the FCT Administration has also taken the issue of Pensioners’ outstanding arrears seriously, which have been paid up-to-date.

“The current FCT Administration so far has released some N2.3 billion for this purpose. All forms of entitlements to retirees under the FCT Administration have been paid up to date with no arrears at all.”

“The FCT Administration has also reinvigorated the school feeding programme. Some N980m has been disbursed towards feeding of students under the FCT Secondary Education Board.”

He further explained that in order to access funds for counterpart projects in the FCT, the Administration has so far made payments of N2.4 billion being part of its obligation to ongoing counterpart projects.

Rail project
The Minister said that the FCT Administration has also released over N7 billion to contractors handling the Abuja light rail project as the first phase of the project would be completed and ready for use by January 2018.

“The administration has also concentrated efforts and reasonable resources in the provision of pipe borne water in the FCT. There has been no delay in the provision of chemicals, maintenance of pipes and distribution of water in the FCT. So far, the Administration has no pending payment for contractors handling projects in that sector.”

The Minister said that the relationship between the Administration and the Area Councils has been cordial, where the Administration has so far released 100 percent of the Joint Area Councils Allocation Committee (JAAC) funding to the Area Councils.

He added that payments of teachers’ salaries are also up-to-date in line with JAAC principles.

Sammie