The Federation of Construction Industries (FOCI), has said that the Federal Government has cleared more than half of the monies owned to construction companies who are its members.
In 2015, FOCI disclosed that the government owed its members over N500 billion, claiming that one company alone was owed N70 billion.
However, in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Sunday, the Chairman of FOCI, Engr. Nasiru Dantata said that the Federal Government had paid more than half of the monies owed its members.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 62nd Annual General Meeting of the Federation, Dantata said that the Federal Government did not just stop at payment for past contracts but was also awarding new contracts, adding that FOCI had moved on from the bad situation it found itself.
“Actually for now the situation is different, most of our members have gotten a substantial amount of their outstanding debts paid and also many of our members are being patronised by the current administration on new jobs.
“I do not have the accurate figure because not all construction companies are members of FOCI, but from the over N300bn we presented to this administration, I believe more than half have been paid.
“Our members are now busy working on many projects.
“Some of the jobs are quite big, like the 375km Abuja-Kano road. So we are hopeful this will continue.
“Government at federal and state now patronize us. My company is indigenous and I have enjoyed good patronage from Nigeria,” he said.
Dantata stressed that there was need for some indigenous companies to up their game, adding that some of the companies perceived as foreign were actually indigenous.
Speaking on the issue of withholding tax refund, the FOCI president said that there was need for the government to review the procedure so as to make it easier.
He disclosed that FOCI was already in talks with the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to see how the tax can be reduced to 2,5 per cent to avoid the problems of having to refund.