Construction companies under the umbrella of Federation of Construction Industry, FOCI, have appealed to the federal and state governments to rescue the contractors by offsetting the huge debt owed them.
President of the construction workers union, Mr. Solomon Ogunbusola, while interacting with newsmen in Abuja yesterday, said that the inability of the government to offset the debt which stands at N600 billion is badly affecting the construction industry.
He equally explained that no payment had been received from the federal government since August 2014.
The body, which has over 100 members in Nigeria and serves the interest of local and foreign construction firms, told journalists that over 80 percent of construction workers in the country had been sacked in the last six months as a result of the inability of the government to award contracts and engage construction companies.
Ogunbusola said: ‎ “‎For over one year we have not received anything from the government, not even capital fund was released. We have written letters to the president and have made noise about it yet nothing has been done.
“We are aware of the difficulties we are facing in the economy, but if the federal government can rescue states to pay salaries, they should also be able to attend to Nigerians in the construction sector especially in paying the debts in order to rescue them because the companies have sacked over 80 per cent of their workforce.
“Recall that we collected loans with interests and the banks are not helpful in this matter. Since last year that we received the last payment, the interests have doubled. The government must look into the situation and see how construction workers can be assisted.
“There are some of our members that have executed jobs for state governments and the FCT and they have not been paid for two years. It does not show any good sign of governance. The new minister of works should look at some of the projects completed so that we can be paid. The roads are in bad conditions across the country. Let the government pay contractors so that we can go back to sites,” he said.
He, however, pleaded with the present government to discourage political award of contracts.