By Emmanuella Anokam
Abuja, March 3, 2021 (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 in Abuja at a roundtable meeting with the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the country.
The meeting was organised by the Transparency Advocacy for Development Initiative (TADI) to assess SMEDAN’s performances, 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 SMEDAN is one of the agencies of government through which the National Assembly execute their various Zonal Intervention Programmes, otherwise referred to as constituency projects.
‘’Let me state categorically here that all projects domiciled with the agency are usually executed fully before payments are effected.
“You may also wish to note that 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.
”Since the time I assumed office for the last five years, there is no contractor who is being owed after executing the project unless there are issues which are not our fault but that of the contractor. We don’t owe anybody.
Radda said the meeting was apt as 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.
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.
Earlier, Amb. Yomi Daniel, Executive Director, TADI noted that the meeting 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.
“We are here because of speculation in the society which is not proper and in that line we had an interface with the organisation, SMEDAN, we have been able to get things right.
“We felt that instead of doing it in isolation, we decided to interact with other CSOs and the media so that the message will be properly passed in society.
“In that vein, we believe bridging the bridge within the masses and the government will be a productive one, so as to avert crises or unwanted stories in the media.
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 the 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 the 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)