Local contractors on Monday storm the Ministry of Finance Headquarters in Abuja protesting the delay in paying them.
The protesting contractors, who were singing “Zainab pay us we no go go”, “we borrowed money to execute contracts”, “You paid your husband, Zainab pay us” amongst others.
In a statement that was later made available to journalists present, the group’s Publicity Secretary, Prince Dandy Rowland, stated that “over 5000 members of the local contractor across the country were passing through severe life threatening situations and hunger, while some have passed on as a result of this delay to pay us.”
The group’s spokesman wondered why despite claims by the ministry that N18 billion was released by the federal government to settle contractors, none has gotten to it’s members.
Mr. Rowland said: “The Presidency inaugurated Presidential Initiative on Continues Audit (PICA) in the Federal Ministry of Finance to verify the contracts we executed over the years and PICA has since verified these contracts over and over again and recommended for the settlement of the local contractors in batches, beginning with 10 million naira downwards in order to cover a wide range of the Local contractors based on the available fund, yet Madam Finance Minister is still talking of verification every now and then, in order to manipulate the payment against PICA’s recommendation.
“The Minister of Finance through her SA Media told us that 18 Billion naira has been released to pay us, and announced to the whole world through Radio Nigeria Network News on 8th July 2020 that the Finance Ministry would pay local Contractors between 7 to 14 days from the date of the announcement, this empty deceptive and unfulfilled promise heightened our pressure from our creditors after the expiration of the stipulated period yet the game continued. Nigerians should be made to know that the funds Madam Zainab is spending on the so called verification gambling exercises is almost amounting higher than the amount owed the Local contractors put together., ‘WHAT A GAME IN A POOR BLACK NATION’.
“Local contractors borrowed money from banks with interest and executed these contracts, yet Madam Zainab the Finance Minister is still gambling with the funds released to pay us. Minister of Finance where is your conscience?
“We are reliably aware that our Anti Corruption President Muhamadu Buhari had since last year approved and released Multi-Billion Naira to pay Local Contractors of these liabilities based on PICA’s verification, but Madam Zainab Ahmed has chosen to withhold and delay this payment,” he said.