FCT contractors protest non-payment, shut perm sec’s office

Over 300 angry contractors Monday around 10am stormed the offices of FCT Minister, Malam Mohammed Bello and Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, blocking major entrances over non-settlement of contractual obligations.

Some the contractors claimed they executed various COVID-19 contracts for the FCT Administration between March 2020 and April 2021 without being paid.

One of the contractors, Emmanuel Nwachendu said: “This is one whole year after the supply. The agreement states that, two weeks after the supply, once you supply, bring your invoice and you will be paid.

“This is one year running nothing, what we are hearing is that each of the contractors has to pay N1 million bribe before we can be paid and that without the N1 million bribe you won’t get paid.

“We supplied medical equipment, reagents, PPE but since last year it has been one story or the other. What we heard initially was that procurement processes was suspended and these money was supposed to have been paid within two weeks; maximum one month of supply. Some of us took loan to be able to meet up with the supply.

“The Permanent Secretary Federal Capital Territory Administration, Adesola Olusade met with us during the procurement process; we were over 300 contractors in the room. They told us they were waiting for supplementary budget, and that as soon as the supplementary budget was passed we are going to be paid.

“We even followed it up from one department to the other. After the 5th week, the Permanent Secretary said for the 1st batch, he only paid those below N10m and there are some of us that are below N5 million who were not paid.”

The permanent secretary, Adesola Olusade while clarifying with pressmen, reaffirmed the commitment of the FCTA to pay all outstanding liabilities owed the contractors who supplied various items in the battle against COVID-19 pandemic.

He however explained that the delay in paying the contractors was due to the inability of the administration to meet with all the requirements.

“I am not aware of any payment of N1 million. The only instruction I gave was that all documents should be in file before any payment can be made. The payment is in batches, we have paid others.

“Contractors below N10m have been paid. If there are issues, the contractors are the cause because they are yet to meet up with the requirements”, Adesola said.

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