Chris Steven, Abuja
The FCT Administration has so far paid the sum of N57.6 billion to contractors handling various projects in the Federal Capital Territory in the areas of water provision, roads and railway construction as well as health, education and environmental sanitation structures and services.
The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello who made this disclosure Wednesday during a press briefing, said there has been massive return of contractors to site following these payments.
The Minister who spoke through the Director of Treasury, Malam Isiaku Ismaila said the Administration put in place strategic plans to ensure that all on-going projects that conform to the Abuja Master 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, adding that funding for these payments were mobilized through transparency, diligent and judicious management of funds without leakages in the system.
His words: ‘627 Indigenous contractors being owed N100m and below, who have matured bills and which provisions were made in the statutory budget were paid the sum of N6.9b 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’.
“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 added that Road construction, city cleaning and environmental sanitation are being given adequate attention by the current FCT Administration as they are seen as very critical to the capital city.
The Minister also disclosed 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.
Bello said the FCT Administration has also taken very seriously the issue of Pensioners’ outstanding arrears which he said 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 disclosed 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 on-going counterpart projects.
Malam Bello revealed the FCT Administration has so far released the sum of N7.009 billion to contractors handling the Abuja light rail project, adding that the first phase of this project would be completed and ready for use by January 2018.