Nigeria News

N30bn Debt, MDG Contractors Deny Political Undertone

Contractors of various projects under the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) intervention have denied any political consideration in their agitation for payment of over N30 billion project funds by the federal government.

The contractors described allegations that they were being sponsored by the opposition political party to blackmail the government as untrue and ridiculous.

“It is complete falsehood and unacceptable. We are not under anybody’s payroll, rather, we are supporters of the transformation agenda of the federal government.”

Some of the contractors spoke with THISDAY after a brief meeting with the representatives from the MDG secretariat, led by its Director of Finance and Administration. Dr. David Ibikunle.

They however expressed optimism that the payments would be made after release of the 2014 fourth quarter budgetary allocation, as promised in the meeting.

“We are desperate and we need this money released as quickly as possible, and they have assured us that they are making every necessary move to pay by the fourth quarter release, the DFA gave that assurance”, they said.

The contractors under the auspices of The Association of Registered Contractors of MDG Nigeria (ARCON- MGD) had in an open letter to the President Goodluck Jonathan alleged that some genuine contractors with   certificates of job conclusion since 2013 had not been paid, thereby appealed to the president for intervention.

According to a letter signed jointly signed by its President Akins Obi Onowu and the Secretary, the contractors alleged various projects executed in accordance with the Bill of Quantities and all Engineering Drawings were handed over timeously after unpaid Valuation Certificate has been raised in 2013 fiscal year were not paid for.

The association also alleged that the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDG Mrs. Precious Gbenaol, had conducted the operations of the MDGs with total disregard to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.

“Some of these contractors are already dead; some are permanently confined to wheel chairs as a result of the High Blood Pressure occasioning stroke. These health conditions are not unconnected with the pressure from Money Deposit Banks and the need to meet up with sundry financial obligations to families by the Contractors”, they said

The letter reads in part; “these recklessness and irregularities are manifestly obvious in these areas which include, award and fraudulent back-dating of new contracts when some projects already completed and delivered since 2013 remains unattended to and unpaid for.

“Upfront payment to beneficiaries who are accomplices to criminality for contracts awarded in 2013 and 2014, which contracts have remained unexecuted, yet completely paid for.”

It stated further; “The Banks are deep at our neck with crushing interest rate of 27% per annum. It is on record that the so called 15% profit margin due to the contractors from MDG project has since been written off by bank interest.”

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