The federal government has said it will, in a matter of days, begin payment of accrued debt owed to road contractors for various projects they have executed across the country.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who disclosed this in Abuja, noted that his ministries will begin to get some of the funds allocated to them in the 2016 budget within days, and will begin gradual payment of the debts.
According to the minister, when the debts are paid, workers who were laid off by the construction companies would be recalled back to work as soon as possible.
Speaking during a meeting with about 20 of the construction firms in his office, including Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Arab Contractors, Dantata and Sawoe, Reynolds Construction, Stallini, RCC, Gitto and Setraco amongst others, Fashola said, “Very soon, in a matter of days, hopefully we will get some funding to disburse to you. What we hope to achieve is to hear from you what the problems are, and when you think you can expect to finish.”
He explained that in disbursing the funds to the contractors, the government has also extracted from them the commitment to go back to their respective sites, using the thousands of recalled workers to complete their projects.
A report in November 2015 by the House of Representatives Committee on Works had indicated that the government owes road contractors as much as N300 billion.
Speaking further, Fashola said, “ I have been to some roads especially in the north central and I will continue to do that across all your sites. I need you to also provide for us information about the number of people you expect to employ in your various sites. I need to know the number of people you are likely to put back to work when you are paid because what we are likely to achieve here as we go on this year is to complete as many as possible as our money can allow on some of the roads that you are working on.