Over 300 angry contractors yesterday barricaded the major entrances to the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) in protest against the non-payment of the COVID-19 equipment they supplied to the FCT agencies between March 2020 and April 2021.
The aggrieved suppliers also accused the FCT Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, of allegedly demanding bribery.
The payment was in respect of the various medical items and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) among others, which they supplied toward containing the pandemic.
They lamented that they were at the mercy of their creditors, as some of them took loans to be able to meet the supply obligation.
The aggrieved contractors said they were assured that the money would be paid within two weeks or a maximum of one month after supply upon presenting the contract invoices.
One of the aggrieved suppliers, Emmanuel Nwachendu, reinforced the allegation against the permanent secretary.
“This is one year running and nothing has happened. What we hear everyday is that each of the contractors has to pay N1 million bribes to the permanent secretary before we can be paid our money,” Nwachendu alleged.
In his reaction, Adesade fiercely denied ever demanding N1 million bribe from anybody.
He also stated that the delay in paying the contractors was due to their failure to meet all the administrative requirements.
According to him, “I am not aware of any payment of N1 million. The only instruction I gave was that all documents should be in the file before any payment can be made. The payment is in batches; we have paid others.
“Contractors owed below N10 million have been paid. If there are issues, the contractors are the cause because they are yet to meet up with the requirements.”
Adesade appealed to the contractors to exercise patience, saying despite the challenges of funding, the administration has paid 109 contractors who supplied PPEs to Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS) and 54 contractors in other Secretariats, Departments and Agencies (SDAs).
The permanent secretary, who hinged the delay in payments to dwindling internal revenue generation and expected funds from the federal government, also expressed optimism that the contractors would be paid as soon as possible.