Funds being spent on the verification exercise was almost higher than the amount owed local contractors put together.
A group of contractors on Monday in Abuja staged a protest at the Ministry of Finance complex over non-payment of contracts they had carried out for various ministries, departments and agencies of the Nigerian Government.
The protesters alleged that billions of naira had been approved and released by the Presidency to settle the liabilities but the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had refused to pay them.
Spokeperson for Local Contractors of Nigeria, Dandy Rowland, said the delay in the payment had subjected many of their members to hardship and harrowing experiences across the country.
Rowland said the Minister of Finance through her Special Adviser on Media had on July 8, 2020 told them that the sum of N18bn had been released to pay local contractors and that the payment would be made within 14 days of the announcement.
He added that Presidential Initiative on Continued Audit in the ministry had verified the contracts executed by their members and recommended the payment of all contractors in batches beginning with N10m downwards.
He said the ministry had refused to yield to the recommendations by the committee.
He said, “The Finance Minister is still talking of verification every now and then in order to manipulate the payment against PlCA’s recommendation."
He lamented that funds being spent on the verification exercise was almost higher than the amount owed local contractors put together.
The protesters therefore appealed to President Buhari to prevail on the minister to pay them their money before they die of hunger.
The minister was not available for comments on the matter and no official of the ministry was ready to speak because they were not authorised to do so.