Zonal Intervention Projects: No contractor is being owed by SMEDAN – D-G
By Emmanuella Anokam [NAN]
The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) says there is no contractor being owed by the agency after executing the Zonal Intervention Programmes otherwise called Constituency Projects nationwide.
Dr. Dikko Radda, Director-General, SMEDAN made this known on Wednesday in Abuja at a roundtable meeting with the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was organised by the Transparency Advocacy for Development Initiative (TADI).
The aim was to assess the performances of Small and Medium Enterprise and Engendering Understanding/Cooperation for Optimum Output in Nigeria.
It was also aimed at letting the CSOs understand SMEDAN’s activities and clarify misconceptions on the roles of SMEDAN, vis-a-vis the Zonal Intervention Programmes and rural empowerment projects.
Radda said the programmes were being executed by the agency on behalf of the National Assembly Members across the country.
He further noted that the agency was executing and monitoring the project in collaboration with Ministry of Special Duties of which it received clearance from before any payment.
”Since I assumed office in 2016, there is no contractor who is being owed after executing the project unless there are issues which is not our fault but that of the contractor.
“We do not owe any contractor because we do not award any contract which we do not have availability of the fund in our account, if you give us 50 per cent, we award 50 per cent,’’ he said.
Radda said the meeting was apt because the agency was gradually rounding up the 2020 programme and also preparing to begin activities for the 2021 capital and zonal intervention projects, as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said it was pertinent to understand that the National Assembly members were at liberty to domicile their constituency projects in any government organisation or agency they desired.
According to him, they also reserve the right to confirm the satisfactory completion or otherwise of the project before payments are made by the agency.
‘’Let me state categorically that all projects domiciled with the agency are usually executed fully before payments are effected.
“The agency has several levels of monitoring and evaluating all projects and this makes it impossible to get paid for projects not executed Very impossible.
‘’I will like to state it very categorical and clear, there is no fear or contradiction since March 2016 when I came to SMEDAN, I have never begged any member of the National Assembly to bring his zonal intervention to SMEDAN,’’ he said.
As the agency for the sustainable development of MSMEs, he said SMEDAN had ensured frequent deployment of skilled personnel in the implementation of either its capital programmes or zonal intervention programmes.
Prior to this engagement, he said the agency had been inundated with requests for information and petitions bordering on capital expenditures and execution of constituency projects.
“It is unfortunate that often times, unconfirmed negative and damaging information are released to the media without proper investigation.
“In view of the foregoing, we deemed it necessary to hold periodic interactive session. Our doors are wide open for periodic clarifications on any issue that some of you are in doubt,’’ he noted.
Earlier Amb Yomi Daniel, Executive Director, TADI said the visit was prompted by speculations in the society about SMEDAN’s activities, hence it decided to engage other CSOs by organising the roundtable to tackle it.
Daniel said his organisation had an interface with SMEDAN, and was able to get things right and decided to interact with other CSOs and media to pass the message properly in the society.
“In that vein, we believe by bridging the bridge within the masses and the government will be a productive one, so as to avert crises and unwanted stories in the media,’’ he said.
Mr Mike Femi, President, Advocacy for Peace and Transparency Initiative, lauded the management of SMEDAN on its efforts in executing many projects across the country.
Femi explained that his organisation was focused on having interaction with government organisations on its activities to inform the public rightly especially on a politically motivated rumour.
Femi, while urging SMEDAN to embark on more campaigns and advocacy to sensitise public on its relevance to Nigeria, added that it should also be right for the public to know the channels for accessing its programmes.
The highlight of the event was the award of Certificate of Credence to the SMEDAN Chief Executive Officer by the CSOs. (NAN)