Julius Berger: How we got 2nd Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan, Abuja-Kano roads contracts - Uju Ayalogu's Blog for News, Reviews, Articles and More

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Monday, 20 July 2020

Julius Berger: How we got 2nd Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan, Abuja-Kano roads contracts

Julius Berger: How we got 2nd Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan, Abuja-Kano roads contracts

The Managing Director of Nigeria’s leading engineering construction company, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Dr. Las Richter, has said the highly reliable company was awarded the contracts for three top priority projects of the Federal Government, namely: Second Niger Brige, Abuja-Kano Expressway and Lagos-Sagamu Expressway, following due process of award.

The firm’s MD made the assertion on Thursday at the National Assembly, Abuja during a hearing by the House of Representatives Committee on Works.

The Committee is investigating what its Chairman, Hon. Abubakar Kabir, described as the “the slow pace of work on the ongoing federal road projects”.

Kabir set the hearing rolling when he delivered its agenda as an enquiry into what procurement process Julius Berger went through for the award of the contracts for the projects, cost each project and completion period.

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A member of the Committee, Hon. Bello Kaoje while acknowledging that Julius Berger is a renowned engineering construction contractor in Nigeria, said the House of Representatives for which the Works Committee acts at the public hearing has legislative, appropriative as well as oversight functions over the prudent and successful execution of capital projects in the country.

This, Kaoje said, was the basis for the public hearing.

Another member of the Committee, Hon. Ganiyu Johnson, was also interested in the commencement and expected dates of completion and delivery of the three projects.

At the hearing, Richter emphatically denied a suggestion that Julius Berger did not get the contracts through due process.

According to Richter, Julius Berger lawfully bidded for the projects, after which the rest of the contract award process remained the statutory work and responsibility of the Ministry of Works to handle.

Responding further on the issue of due process for the awards, Richter said the Bureau for Public Procurement duly issued letters of No Objection for the projects as required by extant procurement law.

In response to the House Works Committee Chairman’s statement that the procurement process for projects in Nigeria is of three types, namely: Selective, Competitive and Direct procurement, Engr. Richter said: “We are an engineering contracting company, and as a going business concern, we reasonably bid for projects, but we are not by law part of the official procurement process.

“That is the statutory duty of the Ministry.

“It is the Ministry of Works that receives a Letter of No Objection to any contract, not our company.

“Bureau of Public Procurement itself vets the rates contractors submit to the Ministry, and the Ministry again takes the rates vetted by the BPP to the Federal Executive Council for approval by the President in Council.

“Julius Berger is not at all entitled to a say in the process apart from the submission of our bid for a project with the Ministry.

“In the circumstance, I therefore cannot and did not say Julius Berger did not follow due process of award for the projects.

“We lawfully bidded for the jobs and were duly awarded the projects.”

A high point of Thursday’s hearing was Dr. Richter’s confident assurance that in all the projects, Julius Berger was, technically speaking, working assiduously within the schedules of panned works, and even working ahead of time in certain scheduled works.

The Julius Berger MD was by a motion carried by the Committee put on oath before he spoke at the hearing, and by another motion moved by the Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Julius Berger was asked to go back and put forward to the Committee a formally signed presentation on the three projects, the subject matter of the hearing.

Kabir adjourned the public hearing sine die thereafter.

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