By Akanimo Sampson
Contractors handling projects for the Federal Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (FMARD) have come under the hammer of the ministry for allegedly delivering poorly executed jobs implemented with sub-standard materials.
The mandate of the ministry is to ensure food security in crop, livestock and fisheries, stimulate agricultural employment and services, promote the production and supply of raw materials to agro industries, provide markets for the products of the industrial sector, generate foreign exchange and aid rural socio-economic development.
Prior to Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the agricultural sector served the purpose of growing and exporting cash crop production to the United Kingdom to support the development of the British industrial revolution era. During the period, agricultural processing was minimal but there was sufficient commodity output for consumption in the domestic economy.
Created in 1966, the ministry had passed through a serial modification of appellations to suit the prevailing climes of mergers and demergers with related sectors. All the same, the adjustment enabled the Federal Government to play a leading role in promoting agricultural activities in the country
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Abdulkadri Mua’zu, however, lashed out at its contractors in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city while addressing those handling the 2019 Department of Rural Development projects.
Mua’zu explained that the meeting was targeted at sensitising contractors for the 2019 projects, and accordingly charged them on the need to ensure value for money on all infrastructure contracts of the ministry
According to him: “You will bear me witness on the poor quality of project executions being experienced in our previous works, goods and consultancy contracts emanating from the use of substandard materials, unqualified personnel, and compromised specifications, among others.
“Contractors nowadays no longer pay strict adherence to quality and standard of project delivery, terms and conditions of contracts, timely submission of all necessary and required documents according to contract specifications and employment of the services of qualified and experienced personnel for proper contract execution.”
The permanent secretary has, therefore, called on the contractors to ensure synergy with the Federal Government’s effort towards improving the agricultural sector.
Adding, he said, “the all-round success of this meeting will not be complete without you our contractors letting the Ministry know your various concerns and challenges with the view to nipping them in the buds for successful 2019 contract delivery.”
The meeting also included discussion on other areas of attention including project supervision and monitoring, community mobilisation and sensitisation.
Meanwhile, the mission of the ministry under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is to organise and manage the agriculture sector and facilitate agribusiness for increased food security and employment along commodity value chains and agro-industrial development to earn foreign exchange and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.