By Adedayo Akinwale and Udora Orizu
Construction giant, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, has promised to complete the construction of the second Niger bridge, Abuja-Kano road and Lagos-Shagamu expressway projects as scheduled.
The House of Representatives Committee on Works had at an investigating hearing last week decried the slow pace of work on the ongoing federal road projects
But its Managing Director, Dr. Lars Richter, while speaking at the ongoing public hearing assured the House that all requisite human and technical resources had been mobilised to all sections of the projects to ensure successful completion as scheduled.
According to him, “The company is working on a schedule, meeting and exceeding planned construction milestones and will deliver the 2nd Niger bridge, Abuja-Kano road and Lagos-Shagamu expressway projects as contracted”.
Richter argued that all the contracts for the three top priority projects were duly awarded to Julius Berger following due process.
He said the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) duly issued letters of “No Objection” for the projects as required by extant procurement law, while denying suggestion that Julius Berger did not get the contracts by due process.
Richter added: “Julius Berger lawfully bid for the projects, after which the rest of the contract award process remained the statutory work and responsibility of the Ministry of Works to handle.
“We are an engineering contracting company, we reasonably bid for projects, but we are not by law part of the official procurement process that is the statutory duty of the Ministry.
“It is the Ministry of Works that receives a Letter of No Objection to any contract; not our company. Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) itself vets the rates contractors submit to the ministry, and the ministry again takes the rates vetted by the BPP to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval by the President in Council. Julius Berger is not at all entitled to a say in the process apart from the submission of our bid for a project with the Ministry. In the circumstance, I, therefore, cannot and did not say Julius Berger did not follow due process of award for the projects. We lawfully bid for the jobs and were duly awarded the projects.”