*also: LAGOS-SHAGAMU EXPRESSWAY AND ABUJA-KANO ROAD PROJECTS
…BPP DG Ahmadu tells lawmakers that Julius Berger duly bidded for the projects, contrary to the position of the committee
The Director-General of the Bureau for Public Procurement, Mr Mamman Ahmadu in Abuja on Tuesday corroborated the position of Julius Berger Managing Director, Engr. Dr. Lars Richter, that the nation’s leading and most dependable engineering construction company was awarded the top priority projects, namely, 2nd Niger Bridge, Lagos-Shagamu Expressway and Abuja-Kano Road based on due process of award by the government. Ahmadu said Julius Berger duly bidded for the projects, contrary to the position of the Works Committee.
The House of Representatives Committee on Works and Director General of the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP), Mamman Ahmadu has disagreed on the modalities for awarding the 400 Abuja- Kaduna-Kano road contract to Julius Berger. While the Committee insisted that the construction giant got the contract without bidding for it as required by law, the BPP boss said due process was followed in the award of the contract as Julius Berger duly bided for the contract.
It would be recalled that the Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Engr. Dr. Lars Richter appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Works last week, and asserted that the company was properly awarded the contracts for the three top priority projects of the Federal Government, following due process of procurent for the works.
Mamman Ahmadu also submitted that several issues were evaluated in the award of the three major contracts of the government to the company. He said part of the consideration was the quality of work expected to be delivered by the finally chosen contractor. The DG said: “The Lagos-Ibadan project was conceived as public-private partnership, but no performance from the concessioner. It was awarded during Jonathan’s time and because of poor performance, it was re-awarded. The Second Niger Bridge, likewise started as BPP project, but failed to perform and it was converted to a contract financed by government and started by Julius Berger. Abuja Kaduna Kano was initiated to open competitive bidding and was later given out too. It was much later because budgetary provisions was not coming regularly and government took it up to finance,” he said.
A member of the Committee Rep. Mark Gbillah had exercised his privilege to disagree with the BPP DG, saying the Abuja-Kaduna- Zaria-Kano road, began as open competitive bidding and sought to know the procurement process by which the project was awarded to Julius Berger. The lawmaker demanded to know the justification for which Julius Berger was awarded the contract, since, according to him, the company was not part of the initial process. Another Legislator, Hon. Bello Kaoje, questioned the rationale behind the BPP awarding roads more than 400 kilometers to a single contractor. Responding, the BPP boss said communities where the strategic projects are sited also preferred the company to handle the projects.
On the essential parameter of quality of final project delivery, Ahmadu said Julius Berger came strongly preferred for the projects. According to the BPP helmsman, “Quality is very important, so specification and quality requirement was considered…. In fact, at the time this project came, Julius Berger said if they were allowed to do the road that they will ensure road maintenance for 30 years and minimum maintenance for a few years thereafter.
Ahmadu, at a lighter moment during the public hearing also drew the attention of the lawmakers to the outstanding quality of Julius Berger’s works within the National Assembly complex, saying: “For instance, the National Assembly should also take note, you have three blocks here and the ones built by Julius Berger, see how they are still clean, and the ones built by others are going bad and need maintenance.