By Sanni Onogu, Abuja
Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Raji Fashola has said the ministry is owing 3,504 local contractors in the Housing sector N69.9 billion.
Fashola announced this on Thursday in Abuja when he appeared before the National Assembly Committee on Housing to defend his ministry’s 2021 budget estimates.
The minister sought the assistance of the lawmakers on how to defray the liabilities.
He said the N76.4 billion allocated to the ministry in the 2021 budget would be grossly inadequate to execute its proposed 186 projects across the country.
Fashola said 2,601 of the contractors being owed N33.9 billion executed zonal intervention projects, popularly called constituency projects.
The minister urged the lawmakers to identify the affected projects in their constituencies which had attracted huge liabilities and pick them as their special intervention programmes for 2021 instead of proposing new ones.
But the lawmakers rejected the idea and asked the minister to propose a separate budget for paying the debts owed contractors that handled the building of schools under the special intervention programmes.
Fashola said: “The concluding part of our 2020 report is to highlight the liabilities that we have outstanding, and this is N69.9 billion.
“So, when you look at our 2021 budget, we are almost in a fix. This is because if we have liabilities of N69.9 billion, how far will a budget of N76 billion then take us?
“However, let me point out that budget of N76 billion was based on the envelope prescription from the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the financial realities at the time the budget occurred as well as the price of oil.”
Source: The Nation