At least 937 local contractors participated in an open bidding for the construction/renovation of public schools and other facilities recently advertised by the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board (KWSUBEB).
The bid, conducted in the presence of the contractors, the media and few government officials, followed Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s directive about government contracts adhering to public procurement process for transparency and accountability.
Director Human Resource and Administration of KWSUBEB Mrs Gloria Adebisi said the bids were for years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 FGN-UBEC-SUBEB’s infrastructural renewal and educational development projects.
Kwara last accessed UBEC funds in 2013. The AbdulRazaq administration paid an outstanding debt of N450m and another counterpart funds of N7.1bn to get Kwara back to the good book of UBEC after years of official backlist.
“The projects bid for are in categories. They include whole school approach; construction of block of two classrooms with an office and store; three classrooms; four classrooms with offices; renovation/rehabilitation of classrooms; construction of VIP toilets and fabrication/distribution of pupils, students and teachers furniture,” Adebisi said.
Others are geo-physical survey and drilling of boreholes with overhead tanks, post COVID-19 hand washing equipment and sanitisers, basic sports development items, basic agricultural development items, conversion/refurbishment of one classroom to digital literacy centre with equipment and polymer groundwork.
“Today’s ceremony marked a new era in the annals of KWSUBEB in providing infrastructural development for basic education in our dear state. These projects will not only improve the standard of basic education in the State, but it will also provide millions of job opportunities for our people in different categories.”
Adebisi applauded Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for his bold steps on the payment of seven billion naira outstanding state counterpart funds which had been long overdue.
“This shows the high level of commitment of the present administration at improving the infrastructure facilities in our schools, most especially basic schools, aimed at ensuring conducive environment for teaching and learning to take place in the state,” she added.
Director Physical Planning Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board Engr Sirajudeen Abdulsalam, for his part, disclosed that the technical committee would follow the laid down template of the UBEC to ensure that competent and qualified contractors win the contract for each project rather than mere looking for lowest bidders.
“We received about 973 bids across the categories of work we are doing. This involves two categories and five lots. All the works involved in the two categories cut across the 16 local government areas,” he said.
“We will be rehabilitating whole schools in some areas while we will remodel some classrooms based on the need of the schools. We have construction of two classrooms across the 16 local government areas, which are in 83 locations. We have construction of three classrooms in 69 locations and four classrooms in 61 locations.”
On the whole school approach, Engr Abdulsalam disclosed that the state would also embark on remodelling of the entire schools in 24 locations across the three senatorial districts.
“So, depending on the population of the schools, we are rehabilitating about 1,553 classrooms across the 16 local government areas under the category and construction of toilets in 78 locations,” he said.
“We are also embarking on the construction of digital literacy centres in 40 locations while 89 boreholes will be sunk for schools in the state,” he added.
Chairman of the Kwara State Indigenous Contractors Association Alhaji Abubakar Alaya applauded AbdulRazaq for the transparent process employed in the bidding process.
“We are very happy with the approach employed by the Kwara State Government for this bidding process. We have been waiting for this day. We hope that this exercise will be fair to all,” he said.
The contract modalities and implementation are to follow regulations guiding projects (partially) bankrolled with federal money.