Local contractors protest non-payment of executed contracts by Finance Ministry

Group, known as local contractors of Nigeria protest against non-payment of contracts by the Finance Ministry in Abuja.
Emeh Joy

A group known as Local Contractors of Nigeria on Monday staged a protest against the non-payment of contracts executed by them across the country.

The protest was held at the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning Abuja and was tagged, "Marathon Peaceful Protest/Hunger Strike against Federal Government Delay to Pay for Contracts Executed by Local Contractors between three to 12 years".

The protesters carried along with them placards with various inscriptions such as, "Save our children from starvation, pay us now", "Madam Minister, you told us N18 billion was released to pay us, where is the money?" etc.

The Publicity Secretary of the contractor group, Danny Rowland, told news reporters that the contractors who executed the validly awarded contracts were yet to be paid for their services.

According to him, the contracts were awarded in various ministries, Departments and Agencies between three to 1 years ago. Hence, the contractors had resorted to a protest begging the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to pay them.

"Over 5,000 members of the Local Contractors across the nation are passing through severe life-threatening situations and hunger, while some have passed on as a result of this delay to pay us", Rowland said.

Rowland further noted that local contractors had even borrowed from banks with interests so as to have the contracts executed.

"We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to mandate the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to pay local contractors now or else; we will remain in this protest and hunger strike before the eyes of the globe," he said.

It was, however, reported that while the protest was on-going, some of the local contractor executives were invited to meet with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Ahmed Aliyu.

The closed-door meeting lasted for over an hour, after which Rowland addressed reporters. He said Aliyu had assured the executives that payment would commence within two and half weeks from September.

"He (Aliyu) assured us that the money available for our payment was not up to the earlier amount that was mentioned.

"He assured us that there was money in billions, but he did not tell us the accurate amount that will settle the local contractors.

"He also said that the ministry wanted to make sure that the money that was available was judiciously used for the real contractors that were being owed as strange names had started appearing from nowhere," Rowland said.

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