Reps, BPP disagree over Abuja-Kano road contract

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The House of Representatives Committee on Works and Director General of the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP), Mamman Ahmadu has disagreed on the modalities for awarding the 400 Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road contract to Julius Berger.

While the Committee insisted that the construction giant got the contract without bidding for it as required by law, the BPP boss said due process was followed in the award of the contract as Julius Berger duly bided for the contract.

Ahmadu however said that the agency was not happy with the pace of work, saying “I’m not happy, with the work so far.”

Ahmadu also said that several issues were considered in the award of the three major contracts of the government to the same company, stressing that part of the consideration was quality of work.

He said “The Lagos-Ibadan project was conceived as public-private partnership, but no performance from the concessioner. It was awarded during Jonathan’s time and because of poor performance, it was re-awarded. The

Second Niger Bridge, likewise started as BPP project, but failed to perform and it was converted to a contract financed by government and started by Julius Berger.

“Abuja Kaduna Kano was initiated to open competitive bidding and was later given out too. It was much later because budgetary provisions was not coming regularly and government took it up to finance,” he said.

A member of the Committee Rep. Mark Gbillah disagreed with the BPP DG, saying the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road, began as open competitive bidding and sought to know and asked the procurement process adopted to give the job to Julius Berger.

The lawmaker sought for justification on why Julius Berger was awarded the contract, having not been part of the initial process.

Hon. Bello Kaoje questioned the rationale behind the BPP awarding roads more than 400 kilometers to a single contractor Julius Berger

Responding, he said communities where the critical projects are sighted had wanted the multinational company to handle the projects, adding that there was an evaluation of the three projects and based on quality, Julius Berger was given the contract

“Quality is very important, so specification and quality requirement was considered. In our review where we thought Julius Berger priced a particular material expensive, we reduced it.

“Infact at a time this project came, Julius Berger said if they were allowed to do the road that they will ensure road maintenance for 30years and minimum maintenance for a few years thereafter.

“For instance, the National Assembly should also take note, you have three blocks here and the ones built by Julius Berger, see how they are still clean, and the ones built by others are going bad and need maintenance.”

Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Abubakar Kabir expressed worries over delay in the completion of Abuja-Kaduna, Lagos-Ibadan projects, awarded by the Federal Government since 2013 and rebuked the Bureau for Public Procurement for allegedly awarding the contract to Julius Berger, without due process.

He queried the BPP for the issuance of no-objection certificate, to the company without taking the interest of Nigerians at heart.

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