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Why contractors are fighting me – Umahi

The Federal Government has said there would be no more project variation after mobilisation fee has been paid on a project. Minister of Works, Engr.…

The Federal Government has said there would be no more project variation after mobilisation fee has been paid on a project.

Minister of Works, Engr. Dave Umahi who disclosed this in Lagos, said many contractors were fighting him over project variation, declaring that the policy of the federal government is that there would be no more project variation after a mobilisation fee has been paid.

Speaking with newsmen in Lagos when he inspected some road projects including the ongoing rehabilitation of the Third Mainland Bridge, Umahi said contractors cannot dictate to the government.

The Minister and his team including the Lagos Controller of Works, Mrs. Olukorede Kesha, and other officials of the Ministry also visited the under-deck of the bridges in Lagos.

Umahi also handed over the construction of the 700 km Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road to the contractor, signalling the commencement of work.

Daily Trust reports that the inflationary pressures have pushed up the cost of construction materials prompting some contractors to demand project variation.

But the Minister said while the government recognises that there has been a spike in the price of construction materials, a contractor is not entitled to project variation after mobilisation fee has been paid.

He said, “As a matter of our policy, if we give you a project and you delay it and you have our money in your hand and you delay it, we would not pay you variation for the level of your delay.

“We cannot continue to vary our projects on a daily basis. So we have a mechanism which is called variation of price and so if at the time of award of a project the basic prices are already higher than your basic prices, you are entitled to our review but otherwise our policy is that if we give you mobilisation, you would not enjoy variation of prices within the limit of the amount of mobilisation we have given to you.

“Some contractors are fighting me but I must do what is right for Nigerians and our position is that if you are a contractor, you can’t give us conditions, you can’t dictate to us. If you don’t like our conditions, you leave it.

“Let me also make it very clear that as a matter of policy, we are also encouraging indigenous contractors and we would work with them to also come up so that they can compete, especially on our concrete road projects.

On the Third Mainland Bridge project, Umahi stated that the under-deck and the surface of the bridge would be fitted with a close circuit television (CCTV).

He also disclosed that the President has approved funds for the completion of Eko Bridge also in Lagos, saying the government would replicate the work being carried out on Third Mainland Bridge on Eko Bridge.

He said, “Eko Bridge, a lot of rehabilitation is ongoing. I want to let people know that Mr. President has already approved funds for the completion of Eko Bridge. It is a total of 11 kilometers and I will also look at additional works that would be done for the project to look like the Third Mainland Bridge we are working on which Lagosians and indeed all Nigerians are very happy about.

“Now we are also going to look at the Third Mainland Bridge resurfacing again. We are bringing solar light there. We want to look at CCTV there and then CCTV would be on top of the deck and also under the water so as to check illegal mining of sands which is giving us problems.”

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