The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee to look into the abandoned N61 billion Katampe District engineering infrastructure project.
Inaugurating the members on Thursday in Abuja, Bello directed the committee to submit its findings and recommendations within six weeks.
The committee, tagged “Inter-Ministerial Committee on Contract and Financial Audit of the PPP Project for the Development of Engineering Infrastructure for Katampe District, Abuja’’, is chaired by a retired Permanent Secretary, Mr Zanna Babagana.
Bello expressed disappointment that the Public Private Partnership (PPP) project was just 16.4 per cent completed as at Jan. 2015, after over three years.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the project commenced on Jan. 17, 2012, with a scheduled completion deadline of 36 months.
According to him, it is disappointing that as at Jan. 16, 2015, when all construction works ought to have been completed; the project achieved only 16.4 per cent completion and the developer suspended construction works at the site since December 2014.
“The expectation was that this pioneer FCTA PPP Project would be completed within 36 months.
“Regrettably, that initial high hope has been dashed, as the success of the project has been considerably undermined by crisis of performance,” he said.
The minister, therefore, directed the committee to review the extent of compliance with the obligations and the processes of the PPP Contract Agreement by the FCTA/FCDA.
Bello also directed that the developer, lenders, the independent engineer, the PPP consultant, ICRC and other government agencies with reference to the technical and financial performances should also be reviewed.
“The committee is to also establish the extent of interventions by relevant government agencies with respect to the monitoring of the PPP contract.
“It should establish any shortcomings in the performance of the PPP contract in the course of the review and make appropriate recommendations on the way forward,’’ he said.
However, the minister explained that the project audit was not intended for witch-hunting, but rather a fact-finding exercise.
Bello said that the measure was only designed to assist the FCT administration to diagnose the problems that have threatened the success of the PPP project, with a view to identifying appropriate solutions and ensuring successful completion.
“The members are carefully selected on the basis of their competence, commitment, integrity and track records.
“The FCT Administration is confident that they will undertake a thorough and fair contract and financial audit,’’ he added.
The FCT Permanent Secretary, Dr Babatope Ajakaiye, said that the 16-member committee has representatives of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria, Bureau of Public Procurement and Federal Ministry of Justice as members.
Others include Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Auditor-General of the Federation and the Debt Management Office as well as officials of the FCT Administration.
He expressed confidence that the committee chairman, whom he described as being of indisputable reputation, would do a good job and make useful recommendations.
Responding on behalf of his colleagues, Babagana assured that the committee would find solution to the problem since it was a fact finding task force.
He also assured that the committee would work diligently and honestly to enable FCT administration re-start the project and achieve its aim. (NAN)