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Contractors picket finance ministry over N18bn debt

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Indigenous contractors on Monday 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.

Speaking on behalf of the aggrieved contractors, 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.

The protesters displayed placards at the ministry demanding the finance minister to settle their claims.

They alleged that the ministry had kept promising to clear the debts but had repeatedly failed to do so.

“They once told us that N18bn has been released to pay us and announced to the world on July 8 that the finance ministry would pay local contractors within 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, told our correspondent that the government met with the protesting contractors and explained to them that the verification of their claims was currently 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 also stated that the ministry assured the protesters that it would pay them once the verification exercise was completed, adding that the government would not hesitate to settle duly verified claims.

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