The Minister of Works, David Umahi, yesterday announced that he had set up six regional committees to review all debts of unpaid certified certificates generated before May 29, 2023, and from then till date.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the minister, Uchenna Orji, said the minister gave the hint during an in-house budget defence with directors in the ministry, in preparation for their presentation to the joint committees of the National Assembly slated for today.
While thanking all those who handled the ministry’s budget for their commitment to the appraisal of the budget proposal, the minister noted that the road sector needed a different kind of attention beyond the 2024 budget envelope received by the ministry.
For a developing nation like Nigeria, Umahi noted that road infrastructure development remains a catalyst for economic growth and has the potential to improve security, agriculture, trade and investment as well as health and education.
“The minister thanked President Bola Tinubu for the attention given to the ministry and his approval of concrete pavement in most of the 2024 projects. “He stated that the ministry is committed to the development of road infrastructure in line with the Renewed Hope agenda.
“The minister noted the huge debts arising from unpaid certificates inherited from the past administration, which run up to N1.5 trillion up till date and the expected contract reviews arising from inflation. These two factors are recognised in the ministry as issues that must be confronted in order to move forward.
“The minister has therefore, set up six committees of one committee per geopolitical zone to review all debts of unpaid certified certificates generated before May 29t, 2023, and from May 29, 2023 to date,” the statement added.
The committees, it stressed, will also review the approved and unapproved variation of prices and all augmentations that were approved or are yet to be sanctioned and make recommendations to the ministry’s management.
“The ministry has exposed these debts and all reviews in the ministry to Mr. President’s economic team and also to the Federal Executive Committee (FEC) on road sector funding.
“ It is believed that the internal works through these constituted committees will help them to use external consultants to re-verify the works so that concrete decisions will be made to move the ministry forward,” the statement added.
It noted that contractors who are being owed are requested to approach the committees with all documents to back up their claims from Tuesday to Friday, between 9am and 7pm at the ministry headquarters in Mabushi, Abuja.
Umahi pledged the ministry’s commitment in using judiciously whatever fund is allocated to the ministry, explaining that such funds must have an impact on road infrastructure improvement nationwide.