The Senate Committee on Maritime Transportation at the weekend frowned at the piecemeal release of fund by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to contractors handling the IBBU-NIMASA Institute of Maritime Studies, Lapai, Niger State.
The committee led by its chairperson, Senator Zaynab Kure expressed their displeasure over the inability of the agency to release money despite the commitment of the contractors during an oversight visit to the permanent site of the institute.
Most of the Contractors complained delay in the release of fund by the agency and expressed fear that the delay may hinder the December deadline for completion and handing over of the buildings to the institute.
The lawmakers became disturbed when a contractor who was yet to be given mobilization fee has gone far above the milestone level to about 30 percent complained that the financial burden was becoming stressful on him.
Irked by this development the Senators wondered why NIMASA would starve the contractors of funds. They argued that the agency has no excuse for the delay in fund releasing to contractors, as the Senate had already approved the budgetary provision for the construction of the institute.
“We are not happy with NIMASA over starving Contractors fund. Most of the contractors have complained of no fund. We are not happy with the agency over payment of contractors. The Senate has cooperated with NIMASA by approving its budget, so they have no excuse not to pay the contractors,” the Kure, the committee chairman complained.
She however commended the contractors for job well done so far, assuring them that her committee will take the matter up with the management of NIMASA.
According to Kure, “We are happy with the level of work on ground. We commend the contractors for their patriotism to the nation and for the confidence they had in NIMASA especially when most of them have not gotten more than mobilization fee and have worked far beyond the milestone level”.
But the representative of NIMASA boss, Mr. Isichei Osamgbi, a deputy director in the agency explained that there are levels and process of payment to contractors. He also blamed the delay on some contractors who are yet to tidy up their papers with their banks.
Osamgbi however said that the agency was committed to the completion of the project on record time and promised that the agency will look into the contractors claims.
NIMASA is undertaking similar projects in University of Lagos, University of Nigeria and Niger Delta University.