Indigenous Engineering Consultants Berate FG over Non-payment of N2bn Consultancy Fee

Muhammadu Buhari

By Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo

Nigerian Indigenous Engineering Consultancy Companies have berated President Muhammadu Buhari led government over non payment of their consultancy fees and maltreatment by the federal government.

They said several indigenous Engineering Consultancy Companies were owed well over N2 billion for over three years leaving their families to suffer.

They further accused the federal government of giving priority to foreign contractors, as they were being paid regularly while indigenous ones were left without being paid.

Speaking with journalists in Osogbo on Wednesday, Engr. Ishola Gbolagade, lamented that despite the fact that 100 percent of the capital projects embarked upon by the present administration were in road construction, most of these road projects were being dominated by foreign contractors

Gbolagade further explained that the main reason for non-payment of these consultants was because their services had not been renewed, while the contractors’ services were renewed without any issue.

He lamented that: “All these consultants remain on site, along with the foreign contractors all these years. And the consultants are prevented from presentation of invoices. On the other hand, contractors present certificates to the ministry without renewals, and payments are made to them without any issues. What an anomaly!”

“We can authoritatively say that the federal government, through Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, owed several indigenous engineering consultancy companies over N2billion for over three years, and the owners and their families are made to suffer without payments for consultancy services rendered to the Ministry.”

“These consultants have relentlessly pursued their payments since 2016, without any headway. Some have tried to appeal to the conscience of ministry officials all these years through personal visitations to the ministry, writing of letters of demand and use of intermediaries, just to appeal for their payments all to no avail.”

“The projects are primarily for road construction projects all over the country. On most of these projects, foreign contractors dominate,
while local engineers have been engaged for several years, as supervising engineering consultants. While Buhari’s government has continuously touted her achievements on road construction throughout
the country, it is on record that Nigerian companies have not fared well.”

“The multi-billion naira being spent on road construction are going to the foreign companies, while the local engineering consultants have been made to suffer for non-payments of much smaller amounts of monies on the same projects.”

“We have it on good authority that over 200 files belonging to local engineering consultants remain
piled up and continue to gather dust at the Ministry. “

“Meanwhile, ministry officials timely receive their salaries, in addition to other juicy monies from their various escapades at the ministry. And some of
the ministry’s officials through their cronies, have become consultants and contractors themselves. On those projects, timely payments are made. That is a story for another day.”

“Sometime in 2018, The Honourable Minister of the Ministry, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), at a Forum with Consultants proudly told his audience that the reason he had not made payments to Consultants was because during site visits to some projects, he did not meet Consultants. Did the Minister find out if the Ministry has renewed their services? But did that occur on all these 200 project files awaiting renewal of services and payments from your Ministry? And does that, in good conscience justify non-payments to Consultants who were on sites during his visits, and have been there for over 3 years? Is this sufficient reason not to pay for services rendered? Is this why these files transmitted to the Permanent Secretary, after so much hoopla from the Consultants have been gathering dust at the Permanent Secretary’s Office? What a callous statement from a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria! In essence, the Minister has proudly presented himself as a villain!,” he said

“It is obvious from the above that Nigerian families are being disenfranchised on these projects, and there are no plans to develop human capacities among Nigerian Engineers. And what is the essence of the Executive Order signed in 2018 by the President toward full utilisation of Nigerian Engineers? Mr. President should be made to realise that utilisation of Nigerian Engineers without payments for services rendered amounts to Zero effort and Zero achievement! Month after month, and continuously, foreign contractors smile to the banks, while our own local engineers are continuously left to complain of lack of payments.”