The Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Engr. Dr. Lars Richter, has confidently stated that his company is “working on schedule, meeting and exceeding planned construction milestones and will deliver the 2nd Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano road, and Lagos-Shagamu expressway projects as contracted”.
Addressing the House of Representatives Committee on Works on Thursday at the National Assembly, Abuja, Richter noted that Julius Berger has mobilized all needed resources, human and material, including new technologies, to ensure successful completion of the projects as scheduled. He emphasized that the contracts for the three priority projects of the Federal Government were duly and lawfully awarded to Julius Berger, assuring that the multinational would complete them in good time for commissioning.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Abubakar Kabir Abubakar, stated that his committee is interested in inquiring into what procurement process Julius Berger went through for the award of the contracts for the projects; the cost each of the projects were awarded for; and their contracted delivery timeframes. Abubakar also noted a perception of “slow pace of work” on the major projects.
Responding, Richter explained that Julius Berger duly secured the contracts for the projects. According to him, as a multinational of global repute, Julius Berger went through lawful and transparent bidding processes for the projects and won the bids as objectively determined by the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Works and other public entities involved in the processes.
In his words, “We are an engineering contracting company, and as a going business concern, we reasonably bid for projects, but we are not by law part of the official procurement process that is the statutory duty of the Ministry.”
The Julius Berger henchman emphasized that the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) duly issued letters of ‘No Objection’ for the projects as required by extant procurement law.
In Richter’s words, “It is the Ministry of Works that receives a Letter of No Objection to any contract; not our company. Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) itself vets the rates contractors submit to the Ministry, and the Ministry again takes the rates vetted by the BPP to the Federal Executive Council for approval by the President-in-Council. Julius Berger is not at all entitled to a say in the process apart from the submission of our bid for a project with the Ministry. In the circumstance, I therefore cannot and did not say Julius Berger did not follow due process of award for the projects. We lawfully bidded for the jobs and were duly awarded the projects.”
The high point of the hearing was Dr. Richter’s assurance to the Committee that Julius Berger is guided by the contracts for the projects and working assiduously to deliver them on schedule for commissioning.