NEWS

FG moves to terminate contracts on abandoned projects in Niger Delta

The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has concluded arrangements to terminate about six abandoned projects spread across the region with a view to enhance the development of the region.

The contractors handling the six projects have been paid about N6 billion of the N22 billion cost since the contracts were awarded, according to official data.

The projects were awarded between 2009 and 2015.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Niger Delta Minister, Uguru Usani, made this known while receiving the report on the audit and review of the East-west road and other projects of his ministry in Abuja.

Mr. Usani said that following the report from the Ministerial Technical Audit Committee on the contracts awarded from 2009 – 2015 in the Niger Delta, some projects have been proposed for termination.

He listed the projects to include construction of OkpuhutaMbano Junction – Orie market –Lomara- Igwebulka (35km) – Abia State; Land reclamation and Erosion control project at OguduAbia Phase I, Abia State.

Others are Idoro-Eastern Itam Water Supply Scheme in Akwa Ibom; Construction of Mbak Atai-Ikot Ntu-MkpetiOkuiboku road project (13.86km) in Akwa Ibom State; Ukparam Water Supply Scheme; and Construction and Supervision of Omelema – Agada II Road, Rivers State with project length of 14.415km.

The minister said the above listed projects were proposed for termination as a result of lack of capacity to complete the work as witnessed on site.

He said, “Gross lack of capacity problem, lack of seriousness on the project, lack of technical capacity to prosecute project and gross lack of competence by the contractors.

Mr. Usani said the committee juxtaposed its findings from project sites against facts retrieved from available documents domiciled in the departments that supervised the projects.

According to him, there were violation of contract award process, right from the cycle of procurement planning to contract award. He said the committee noticed inconsistencies with the provisions of vital aspects of the Procurement Act.

“Prominent among other issues of violation were indiscriminate award of contract by initiating and benefiting departments without the leading and guiding role of the procurement department.

“Awards never took cognizance of availability of funds and annual appropriation provisions,” he said.

The minister said the structure and content of some contract agreements lack checks and balances, saying that they hardly protect the interest of the Ministry in case of disputes.

He explained that the imminent picture of abandoned and uncompleted projects was as disturbing as the retinue of projects that extremely exceeded the dates of completion.

“This manifestly, emanated from inconsistency in government annual budgetary provision and lack of capacity to deliver especially where funds released do not correspond with performance.

“Most contracts were awarded with specific dates of completion but were not captured in subsequent appropriations.

According to the minister, this further exacerbated contractors’ poor performance and inability to achieve project objectives.

“Consequently, no capital project was completed within the stipulated time frame,” he said.

The minister did not clarify if the benefitting contractors would be asked to refund any money.

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Omojuwa

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