Kaduna Govt. Meets With Contractors In Bid To Revive N6.4bn Schools Projects


(NEWS INVESTIGATORS) Kaduna State Government said it would ensure the completion of all the 51 ongoing capital projects in the education sector, awarded between 2016 and 2019.

The state’s Commissioner for Education, Dr Shehu Makarfi, made this known at a meeting with some of the contractors on Thursday in Kaduna.

According to the Commissioner, the meeting was  to discuss the challenges hampering the completion of the projects and agree on  the way forward.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that only four out of the 55 projects were fully completed while the rest were at between zero per cent to 80 per cent completion stage.

A document obtained by NAN indicates that the projects, awarded at the cost of over N6.4 billion were mainly on construction, renovation and rehabilitation of classrooms.

It also included provision of drainage, solar-powered boreholes, toilets, solar streetlights, furniture, and perimeter fences in schools.

The document revealed that about N2.4 billion was disbursed to the contractors out of the N6.4 billion.

At the meeting, the commissioner said that the state government was now ready to pay outstanding liabilities to the contractors.

He, however, noted that some of the contractors had collected mobilisation fees and disappeared, warning that their contract would be revoked and handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution.

“We equally observed that some of the contractors are not executing the project as specified in the Bill of Quantity.

“This is unacceptable and such contractors will not be paid until the projects meet minimum standard.

“We will, therefore, recommend payment to only performing contractors and those who are willing to go back to site and complete the projects according to specifications,” he said.

Makarfi also said that the state government has began compilation of a compendium of accredited contractors, urging the contractors to avoid being blacklisted.

Also speaking, the Director, Education Sector Project, Malam Ubale Salisu, urged the contractors to be diligent in executing the projects.

Salisu added that Bill of Quantity would be released to all relevant stakeholders to monitor and ensure quality delivery of the projects.

Responding, Malam Ibrahim Balarabe, who spoke on behalf of the contractors, identified non payment and security challenges as the major challenges militating against completion of the projects.

One of the contractors, Malam Sambo Salisu, of Salzi Nigerian Ltd., acknowledged that some contractors had disappeared after collecting mobilisation fee.

He noted that scarcity of funds was common with day-to-day running of government, pointing out that some committed contractors mobilised to site without payment.

“I mobilised to site the moment I collected my contract award, because I am very confident that the government will pay me in full.

“For example, I renovated the whole of Government Girls Secondary School, Kabala Costain, without mobilisation fee and I was paid in full upon completion of the project.

“We did same thing with the renovation of Rimi College Phase I, and now I am on Phase II,,” Salisu added.

He advised his colleagues that have no capital to execute projects to stay away from construction business, stressing that without capital, there was little or nothing that a contractor can do. (NAN)


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