By NBF News

The office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) said in Abuja that it had awarded a total of 5,000 projects between 2008 and 2009 across the 774 local government areas in the country. It will be recalled that the SSA on MDGs, Hajia Amina El-Yaqub, was recently summoned by the House of Representatives Committee on MDGs to explain implementation of the projects.

It said a total of 2,596 contracts were awarded in 2008 across 6,504 locations, as against 2,404 in 2009 in 5,732 locations at a total cost of N46.7 billion. In its breakdown of the 2008 projects, MDGs said 923 contracts went into building construction, 168 into medical equipment supply, 77 into medical drugs supply, 509 into educational furniture and books/teaching aids while 919 went into borehole construction.

For 2009, it claimed 1,015 contracts went into building construction, 22 contracts into medical equipment supply, 13 into medical drugs supply, 735 into educational furniture and books/teaching aids and 619 into borehole construction. The MDGs office said that out of the 2,596 contracts awarded in 2008, a total of 1,808 contracts representing 82 per cent had been completed as at May 2010.

While as at May 2010, only 156 representing 18.46 per cent were completed out of the awarded 2404 contracts in 2009. Most lawmakers, however, faulted the way and manner constituency or quick wins projects are being executed in federal constituencies and senatorial districts. The office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President of MDGs admitted that though there were challenges, nevertheless, the office was making considerable impact on the Nigerian populace through its quick wins projects.

The MDGs office, however, attributed the delay in implementation of some 2009 projects to the global economic meltdown, adoption of innovative procurement process and end of financial year mopping up of funds. Other challenges, according to MDGs office, include delay in processing payment and problems with e-payment system.

Others were CBN's inability to handle the volume of transactions, site identification and site possession, change of request and change in site, paucity of fund to meet advance payment requirement as well as challenges of Niger Delta contracts.