13 Nov FG owes 3,504 housing contractors, says Fashola
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said on Thursday that his ministry owed 3,504 contractors handling its various housing projects N69.91bn.
Fashola spoke during his appearance before the joint National Assembly Committee on Housing to defend his ministry’s 2021 budget estimates.
He sought the assistance of the lawmakers on how to defray the liabilities because the N76.4bn allocated to the ministry in the 2021 budget would be grossly inadequate to execute its186 projects across the country.
Fashola specifically sought the understanding of the lawmakers to assist in defraying the liabilities.
He said 2,601 contractors being owed N33.9bn actually executed constituency projects.
He pleaded with the lawmakers to identify the affected projects in their constituencies that had attracted huge liabilities and pick them as their special intervention projects for 2021 instead of proposing new ones.
Fashola said, “If we have liabilities of N69.9bn, how far will a budget of N76bn then take us.
“Now the big elephant in the room is the outstanding liabilities and I’ll like to say with every sense of modesty that I think that we should be commended for bringing this out now when something can be done about it.
“We have not taken a decision to forsake those projects. What has simply happened is that we haven’t paid enough attention to them to make sure that they are properly appropriated for, to make sure they are properly funded to completion.
“The big ticket items in our presentation are the housing projects of N30bn.
“The next one is special projects. Who are special projects? Special projects are your constituents and those are the people on whose behalf you are here.
“They are the primary schools, the mathematics centres, the skills centres…that is what it is.”
The lawmakers rejected the idea and instead asked the minister to propose a supplementary budget for the purpose of paying the contractors that handled the building of schools under the special intervention programmes.