We Are Not Responsible For The Payment Of Compensation — SERMATECH
Sermatech Nigeria limited, the construction company handling the dualization of the Calabar-Itu highway says, it is not part of its job scope to pay compensation to communities along the road corridors.
Representative of the company in Cross River State, Mr Ento Edako, dropped this hint while fielding questions from newsmen in Calabar, the Cross River State capital recently.
Edako who was reacting to comments raised by one Etubom Asuquo as published in an online media platform intimated that, “the federal executive council through its memo of July 29, 2020 specifically stipulates that the payment of compensation lies in the purview of the state government, not the contractor.”
According to Edako, “contrary to claims that the federal government had also released N79 Billion to Sermatech construction company for the job, “payment for contract is also captured at 10 percent of the contract sum, less taxes and VAT.”
He explained that the company has not faulted its local content requirements and roles as insinuated, admitting that “all local content issues are being implemented including its corporate social responsibility especially in the provision of classroom blocks, health facilities, water boreholes and skills acquisition centres.”
He added that community members have been engaged as site workers with at least 30 others on its payroll in order to boost the company-community relations, which Sermatech views as sacrosanct in all areas it had worked.”
Edako also explained that “most materials used at the present stage of the job including cement and woods were locally sourced and provided by indigenous contractors,” a deliberate style which the company had maintained in all sites considering its company–community relations.
He remarked that after the last stoppage of work orchestrated by a community member, the company has resumed job at its portion according to the specifications and aware of the benefits of the project to road users when completed.
The representative noted that at the moment, “we have mobilized to site with our state-of-the-art materials and equipment, working every day and achieving appreciating milestones within our first five months.”
Listing some of the progress so achieved, Edako admitted that, “pilling foundations on three bridges were going on simultaneously as well as the stabilization of concrete culverts and precast drainage slaps.”
He added that earth works including massive sand filling of over 4kms swamp areas and a hundred percent compaction have all been achieved in line with the best engineering principles and guidelines, a development, Edako averred that “it is visible and can be verified anytime, anyday.”
Edako affirmed that before any mobilization was made to the company, it mobilized to site and resumed major and considerable milestones as a patriotic indigenous company, in spite of threats by some community members who made the company to halt its job forcibly on many occasions.
Sermatech also says, “although the farm lands and other structures have been enumerated and valued by consultant Estate Valuers for the payment of compensation by the client, as an experienced company, it would continue to avoid the destruction of existing structures on the right of way, especially where it is avoidable.”
The company further enjoined the complainant not to rubbish its track records but appreciate and have confidence in its ability to handle a job of such magnitude.
Sermatech reaffirmed its readiness to carry out the job in line with the recommended specifications based on its past results in the handling of Obubra–Ugep road as well as Biase axis in Cross River State, among others.
“Ours is an indigenous firm with the best practice even as we stick to the highest quality materials and deliverables as confirmed clearly by the Nigerian Society of Engineers as well as the Federal Ministry of Works who are our clients,” the company representative hinted.
He further warned “detractors who could not meet up the company guidelines in the supply of materials, not to raise bad blood or make negative issues and comments where none exist,” admitting that “facts must be properly checked before going to press as Sermatech is not a green horn in construction jobs.”
He enjoined the host communities to remain responsive and understanding as the project is for their benefit and others who ply the road as it will put an end to the rigorous days and manhours hitherto spent on the road due to its poor state.
The company representative reasoned that, “the Federal government is poised to funding and ensuring that the long awaited project is completed as soon as possible for the good of the citizenry, while making the journey from Odukpani to Uyo and Odukpani to Ogoja safe, smooth and secured.”
Edako further assured that, “the relationship existing between the company and community members along the road corridor remain cordial and can not be threatened as Sermatech hold community relations in high esteem.”