The President, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Kashim Ali has blamed the delay in execution of road projects on the present budgetary system.
Ali, who said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday, noted that Nigeria’s budgetary system was in variance with road projects planning.
He called for an adjustment that would accommodate changes in weather conditions to ensure that the budget was concluded and warrant for releases issued in dry season.
According to him, the budget has to be prepared, go through the National Assembly and until it is passed and signed, money cannot be committed.
“Unfortunately, our budgetary system is such that it starts with the executive toward the tail end of the raining season.
“It gets to the National Assembly in the dry season, and leaves when the rains are setting in.
“So, as the rains are setting in, then you will now issue warrant for releases in the raining season, there is nothing a contractor can do.
“Now the contractor cannot keep the money nor the ministry, so by the time the dry season is setting in again, they will say they are doing closure.’’
Ali said enough had not been done on Nigerian roads in the country but added that availability of funds was a primary constraint.
According to him, the delay in meeting contractual payments to contractors is a major delay in highway projects.
“Contractors are not anybody’s friend; people make the mistake of thinking that contractors can be friends.
“A contractor is just a friend of your money, so if you have money, he will work for you, if you don’t have money there is no work.
“We must learn that, sometimes we think let’s give him the job, let me owe him, you can’t owe a contractor in truth.
“If a contractor knows you are going to owe him, it’s because he knows he has a way of taking that money from you,” he said.
He called on the Federal Government to be prepared to meet its contractual responsibilities, especially payment of evaluated certificates when awarding contracts. (NAN)