By Frank Ulom
The Honourable Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi, has commended SERMATECH for living up to expectation with its performance on the ongoing dualisation of the Calabar-Itu Federal Highway.
The Minister gave the commendation, Wednesday, in a meeting with the Cross River State Consultative Forum and representatives of SERMATECH Construction Company, in his office in Abuja.
The Minister, who convened the meeting to listen to the petition from Cross River State Consultative Forum, notified that he had in the past nursed erroneous sentiments against SERMATECH until he visited the site a few months ago, maintaining that he is impressed with the 40 per cent work rate already achieved by the construction giant (SERMATECH).
Discrediting Cross River State Consultative Forum’s petition, Umahi stated that rather than contemplate revocation of SERMATECH’s contract, it should be encouraged as the only indigenous company that has continued to work on the Calabar-Itu Highway, carrying palliative interventions beyond its contractual areas free of charge, adding that “before any calls for revocation, parties agitating must first visit the site and not resort to maligning the good image of the company.”
He confirmed that the quality of work was very satisfactory.
He chided the group for not visiting the site to get their facts right and castigated them over the phantasm that indigenous companies like SERMATECH do not have the wherewithal, equipment and manpower to undertake dualisation and bridge projects.
The Works Boss, in the company of some members of his management team, also corrected the misinformation ladened in the Forum’s petition, with a graphical presentation of the 28.6 kilometres awarded to SERMATECH (from the Power Plant to Oku Iboku in Akwa Ibom) and clear demarcation between SERMATECH and Julius Berger.
He drew the attention of the Cross River State Consultative Forum to the Benin Bypass/Agbor Road, where SERMATECH has been working on a yet-to-be-paid basis, describing the company’s gesture as a nationalistic ideal.
The Minister praised SERMATECH for continuing work on the road even when other companies working on the same road had all pulled out for financial remuneration. He appealed to SERMATECH to continue work as the Federal Government is poised to complete the Calabar-Itu Highway as a very important economic corridor between the South-Southern states of Cross River and Akwa Ibom and their South-Eastern neighbours.
The tripartite meeting had the delegation from Cross River State Consultative Forum led by Barrister Eyo Ekpo, in the company of Hon. Victor Okon, Chief Ani Esin, Prof. Emmanuel Eyo, Hon. James Anam, Sir Maurice Effiwat and Hon. (Mrs) Ada Egwu.
The SERMATECH delegation comprised Mr Isioma Ezi-Ashi, Managing Director – SERMATECH, Engr. Joe Ukpata and Engr. Iheanacho Chibueze.