April 16, 2021

Plateau Govt to revoke N30bn contract over slow execution

The Governor of Plateau State, Mr. Simon Lalong has issued notice of termination to contractor handling his “Legacy” infrastructural projects.

“I cannot complete projects abandoned by previous administrations and still leave abandoned projects,” said the Governor, Saturday in a media chat in Jos.

The “Lalong Legacy projects” are a cluster of health and educational infrastructures across the 17 local government areas of the State, initiated by Lalong. Many infrastructures in other sectors, before Lalong’s election in 2019 are not listed among the “Legacy Projects”; others started after the award of contract for the legacy projects as well.

A just completed hospital in Southern Plateau

The legacy projects estimated at N30 billion ($78, 843, 626.81: $1USD = N380.50) were designed following series of stakeholder engagements on priority needs across communities in the State, it was gathered.

The projects were meant to be completed before 2021, said Lalong, “but for coronavirus disease”. With three years left for his tenure, the Governor is frustrated by “slow pace of work” at the sites, despite prompt payment of liabilities.

“We have issued him (the contractor” a notice of termination. By the time this (revocation process) is over, you will see what will happen within the next three months (on the infrastructures),” said Governor Lalong.

The projects financed with credit facilities from the capital market were initially valued at N50 billion ($131, 406, 044.68: $1 = N380.50). An “investor” had offered to execute them on a 25year credit but Officials declined for fear of delays.

According to Lalong, “It was an investor who said he would invest N50bn into them while we pay him in 25 years. But when we went into the details, we realized we might not finish them before leaving office and I thought that was not right.

“So we went into re-scoping those projects within our limits and arrived at about N30bn. To raise the money, we went into the capital market. Then we invited the contractor and told him, now that the money is there, we must finish these projects.”

Lalong however fears for the sustainability of the infrastructures beyond his administration if a Governor from a rival political party succeeds him.

In his words; “This is not a campaign but if another Governor who does not share in the vision takes over from me, I cannot guarantee the sustainability of the projects because everyone has his priorities, but it is our prayer that they will be safeguarded, utilized and maintained because these are projects for the people of Plateau State.”