The Federal Government has urged the National Assembly to amend the Procurement Act to allow smaller construction firms to handle critical infrastructural projects.

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The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), told the House of Representatives that the Act set stringent qualifications for contractors to handle certain projects of the government.

The Minister said though the government did not have a preference for Julius Berger Plc, the construction giant and a few others meet the criteria.

Fashola had appeared before the House Committee on Works to defend the 2021 budget proposed by the ministry in Abuja on Thursday, where members said it appeared that the government was shunning other contractors, alleging that Julius Berger now seemed to have too many projects to handle.

Responding, the minister said, “If you go through the procurement law as it currently is, the truth is that only a certain type of contractors can bid for certain projects. That is just the law.

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“If you go through the law and the thresholds that have been set, only a certain class of contractors, based on their turnovers; otherwise, they will not pass the technical and financial evaluation.

“Until we urgently revisit our procurement law in order to make it more accommodating of small and medium-sized companies, in order to achieve the President’s Executive Order 005, of including local component and capacity contractors, then we won’t really have the spread.

“As it is, only few contractors can reach this threshold; that is a matter of eminent legislative consideration and amendment.”