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Taraba: FG threatens to terminate contract after N156m mobilisation

The Federal Government has threatened to terminate the contract awarded to Messrs Munir Industries and Trade Limited for the construction of the Zing-Yakoko-Monkin federal road in Taraba State over the contractor’s alleged slow pace of work, continuous absence from the site and lack of commitment and capacity to execute the project. 

The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, in a letter dated October 9, 2019, and placed on advert addressed to the Managing Director (MD) of Munir Industries, revealed that the contract for the construction of the Zing-Yakoko-Monkin Road was awarded to the company on December 14, 2012, as “Contract No.6151 in the Sum of N41, 043,029,772.40.”

 The ministry noted that the order to commence work was issued on March 9, 2013, to the contractor to complete the road on or before March 8, 2014; a completion period of 12 months. 

 In the letter, the Director of Legal Services in the ministry, Mrs. J.C Suwa, said the Federal Government in fulfilment of its obligation under the contract agreement and to facilitate the speedy and smooth take off of the project, paid N156,454,565.00 as advance to enable the contractor mobilise to site.

 Mrs. Suwa further said, “However, it is sad that your work percentage remains at 6.10 per cent with a time lapse of 112.5 per cent after the completion period. Having being granted extensions and four warning letters issued to your company to carry out its obligation under the contract agreement, you have exhibited failure of which the ministry will invoke and apply the relevant clause(s) in the Standard Conditions of Contract.” 

She added that, “With this slow pace of work and your continuous absence from the site, your company has demonstrated lack of commitment and capacity to execute the project in contravention of clause 63 of the Standard Conditions of Contract (Road Works) Vol. I, 1999. By this act, the Federal Government is considering terminating the said contract.

 “In the light of the above, you are hereby given 14 days from the date of service of this letter to immediately return to site and remedy the wrong or risk the contract being terminated without further notice.” 

 One of our correspondents who visited the site of the Zing-Yakoko-Monkin Road gathered that the contractor left the site few months after commencing work in late 2013 after constructing just three kilometers and four culverts along the 15-km road and has not returned ever since. 

The road links about 50 communities in Zing and Yorro local government areas of Taraba State and several other communities in neighbouring Adamawa State. The company’s yard in Zing Town was without single construction equipment when our reporter visited. 

Communities along the road expressed dismay over the non-completion of the road. Only a few four-wheel drive vehicles ply the road because of the difficult terrain therefore, the communities rely on motorcycles.

 A member of one of the communities, Mr. Daniel Fidelis, said when the project was awarded by the Federal Government, everybody was happy, but their hope was dashed when the contractor packed his materials and left the site. 

Mr. Fidelis said areas to be linked by the road project had agricultural potentials, as well as solid minerals and tourism, and stated further that when the road is constructed the area would be opened to investors in the solid minerals and tourism sectors. 

He lamented that lack of access road was causing untold hardship to the communities whenever they needed to take people to hospitals and farm produce to markets, and therefore, appealed to government to terminate the contract and award it to a more competent contractor. 

The paramount ruler of one of the communities, Kpanti Lonyo, Mr. Solomon Shadokwa, said it was the desire of members of the community to see the road linking the area from Zing Town constructed.

 Mr. Shadokwa said there were a lot of economic potentials in the area in which when an access road was provided would be harnessed and exploited. He said government should compel the contractor to return to site or terminate the contract and award it to a more competent company.

 Effort to get the contractor to comment on the claims of the ministry did not yield results. Our reporter visited No.1 Bilyamin Usman Street, Jabi District – FCT Abuja, through which the ministry wrote to the contractor, Munir Industries, but discovered that the building, a duplex, was under lock and key and looked like no one had inhabited it or that no business activity had taken place in the building for about a year. 

Two security men around the area said the ground floor of the building was last occupied about a year ago and that they were not sure of the occupants’ new location. 

Further effort to reach the contractor, including searching for the company’s website and its possible new address or contact person, was not successful. Ministry says it is a N41bn contract, BPP documents show N1bn. Further investigation of procurement records obtained from the website of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) shows that the contract for the construction of the road is among contracts approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) from January to March 2013, to be implemented by the Ministry of Works. 

The contract is titled: “Construction of Zing-Yakoko Monkin Road in Taraba State: 7km C/No. 6151, and awarded to Messrs Munir Industries & Trade Ltd for 12 months duration.” The document showed that the contract was awarded at a cost of N1, 043,029,772.40 and not N41, 043,029,772.40 as advertised by the ministry.

Credit: Daily Trust

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