MDAs get N20bn for electricity, local contractors

• FG earmarks N16.7bn as refund for Yola Disco

Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

The Federal Government plans to settle the electricity bills of its ministries, departments and agencies with N5bn and offset the debts of local contractors with N15bn in 2021.

It also plans to settle ex-workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways with N5.75bn next year.

These were contained under the served wide vote section of the 2021 Appropriation Bill that was submitted to the National Assembly by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), last week.

The government also earmarked N25bn for special intervention under the service wide vote section of the bill, while refund for the acquisition of Yola Electricity Distribution Company got N16.7bn.

In August, indigenous contractors had staged a protest at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to kick against the non-payment of their N18bn contract sum by the ministry.

The Publicity Secretary, Local Contractors of Nigeria, Dandy Rowland, told journalists that the affected firms executed contracts for various ministries, departments and agencies, but their pay had been delayed by the finance ministry.

“They once told us that N18bn had been released to pay us and they announced to the world on July 8, 2020, that the finance ministry would pay local contractors between seven to 14 days from the date of the announcement but nothing has been done,” Rowland said.

But the Special Adviser on Media and Communications to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Yunusa Abdullahi, had told our correspondent that the verification of the claims was ongoing.

He said, “The ministry eventually met with them and explained to them that the verification process takes time. There are a lot of documents that we have to verify in order to know those who really did one or more of the contracts.”

Abdullahi had also stated that the ministry assured the protesters that it would pay them once the verification exercise was completed, adding that government would not hesitate to settle duly verified claims.

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