…Agrees to pay interest on debt owed
By Peter Egwuatu
THE Federal Government has agreed to pay over N600 billion debts owed to construction firms, with the promise to also pay interest on the debts accumulated.
The Managing Director of Julius Berger, JBN Plc, Engr. Wolfgang Goetsch, yesterday, revealed this to shareholders at its investors’ forum held in Lagos, saying “We were able to complete the Abuja Airport runway repairs on schedule due to the commitment of the Federal Government and its various agencies. The Minister of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, the Minister of Transport, Presidency, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, other stakeholders and the Vice President coordinating all activities were on ground to ensure quick completion.”
Continuing, he said “the Federal Government is showing strong political will to achieve the government’s economic recovering plan, coupled with the fact that it has promised to pay the construction industry the N600 billion debts as well as interest thereof. We were paid huge percentage of the Abuja Airport runway project; it is still ongoing as the entire project was a six month period. So, we are happy that we completed that portion of the runway even before the period scheduled.”
The Julius Berger boss said this year the Federal Government has refunded N5 billion as tax return to the company, stressing that the 2017 performance looks promising. “We have strong contract portfolio, about N310 billion, above 2 years of projected turnover. We have diversified portfolio as we have wide range of product and services in various sectors which is critical towards mitigating risks and volatility in earnings.”
While commenting on debt repayment by the Federal Government, he said “Discussion is ongoing as government has pledged to issue more bonds to fund projects and pay debts. It is not the first time that bond is been issued to fund projects. We would expect the state governments to as well show commitment in fulfilling part of their agreement; some states are already showing financial commitment to the execution of projects.”
While commenting on the financial performance for the 2016 period, the Finance Director JBN, Mr. Wolfgang Kollermann said, “The 2016 was tough and very challenging as we spent over N14.2 billion as foreign exchange, forex acquisition loss. It was this singular transaction that significantly affected our Profit Before Tax, PBT, even when we recorded operating profit of N16.8 billion.”
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