From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has denied that its officials demanded a bribe of N1m to facilitate payment to some contractors, who supplied various items in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
Checks revealed that the allegations was a ploy by some desperate contractors to blackmail the FCTA officials following the delay in the payment of their contract sums.
It was also gathered that the delay in the payment of some of the contractors was due to processing error, as some of the contractors due for payment are yet to complete documentation.
A senior official of the FCTA, who doesn’t want his name mentioned, said it was the dwindling revenues accruing to FCTA that caused the delay of payment to the contractors.
He further disclosed that the Minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello, has, however, mandated that all backlogs of payment be cleared as the finances of the FCT improves.
Also, the FCTA has assured that all outstanding payments which are mostly incurred by Health and Human Services Secretariat would be paid soon.
The permanent secretary, Ministry of FCT, Mr Olusade Adesola, gave the assurance while addressing some aggrieved contractors who are yet to be paid for jobs executed for the FCTA.
Adesola also blamed the delay in payments on dwindling internal revenue generation and expected funds from the federal government.
He, however, expressed optimism that the contractors would be paid as soon as possible.
While appealing to the contractors to exercise patience, the permanent secretary revealed that despite the challenges of funding, the FCT administration had so far paid 109 contractors who supplied Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS).
He also said that 54 contractors in other Secretariats, Departments and Agencies (SDAs) have been paid.
He stressed that the procurement for COVID-19 supplies cut across all the SDAs including Water Board, Environmental Protection Board, Federal Capital Development Authority, Social Development Secretariat, and Education Secretariat, amongst others.
“We are making serious efforts in ensuring that we get the expected funds from the federal government, and we are also ensuring that we up-scale our Internal Revenue Generation (IGR) to enable us offset our liabilities. I want to assure you that all our contractors will be paid soon,” the permanent secretary stated.