By Steve Oni, Ilorin
The Nigerian Economic Management Team (EMT) chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has been urged to ensure that the funds voted for ongoing capital projects in the 2020 budgetary allocations are not moped up by December 31 this year.
Some contractors in procurement under the aegies of Ministries Development Agencies (MDAs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), in a chat with reporters in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, said the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic had encroached into the completion time of their contracts for the 2020 financial year.
Besides, they said the shutting down of the world economy during the heat of the pandemic had hindered their chances of procurement of vital materials for their ongoing capital projects.
According to the spokesman of the group, Kennedy Ajuwan, if the National Assembly should insist on the moping up of the remaining funds in parastatals by December 31, this year, it would lead to abandonment of over 70 percent of ongoing projects “especially if such projects are not captured as ongoing projects in the 2021 budget.”
Ajuwan said: “We lost three months to COVID-19 outbreak. We could neither work nor import materials for projects under construction during this period. Some of the contracts entail the procurement of items abroad. This is an economy under a recession and it is not in the best interest of the country at present to have abandoned projects. It will be costlier to resuscitate such projects.
“The Vice President should kindly ensure that we are giving the grace of the first three months in the year 2021 so that we will not have problems accessing our funds at the completion of the projects. It is not in the interest of Nigerian economy to truncate the year 2020 budget by December 31. Where this is not done, over 95 percent of the projects could be abandoned. The number of months lost to COVID-19 must be returned.”
He added that even though it was not an aberration for the National Assembly to be in the forefront of returning the budget by December 31st, “doing this during COVID-19 era, would not make it profitable for the economy.”