Kaduna: Indigenous contractors as preferred choice, the Farmtrac story

Since colonial and pre-colonial era, Nigeria has depended mainly on foreign contracting firms for its construction works and projects. ABDULRAHEEM AODU writes on how Farmtrac is changing the narrative and driving urban development in Kaduna. 

Major buildings, roads, bridges and other big projects in Nigeria since pre-colonial days were handled by foreign contractors. The bigger and more complex the project, the more reason it should go to a foreign company. Though foreign firms are still dominating construction in Nigeria, some local firms are changing the narrative. 

el-Rufai’s novel idea

In the last few decades, local contracting firms have taken up the challenge to stand up and be counted. And some of them have carved a niche for themselves in the construction sector.

 One of these firms is Farmtrac Nigeria Ltd. 

Farmtrac was one of the construction companies selected in 2015 when Governor Nasir el-Rufai assumed office to handle road projects in the 23 local government areas. The projects are done under a novel arrangement of being paid at the end of the month, based on assessed and verified amount of job done. 

Though the scheme is unattractive  to many contractors, but Farmtrac keys into it and ensure the job was done to specification.  For instance, the 10km Kachia township roads were completed within schedule and this prompted the Kaduna state government to give out more projects to the company. 

List  of projects 

Farmtrac has handled several road projects in Kaduna and Kano states. The project coordinator,  Surveyor Marcus Saleh says:  “Some of the roads completed by Farmtrac include the 10km Kachia township road project, a 10km road project in Sanga, composed of 4km township and 6km bypass, and the 36km Kwassam-Gisheri Road including a 60m bridge in Kauru LGA. 

“The 21km Laduga link road to Cattle Crossing in Kachia, the 15km Kafanchan township road were old projects that were re-awarded to our company, the GGSS, Kachia internal road, the Nigerian Army School of Artillery, Kachia internal roads, the Rimi College, Kaduna internal road and the Government College and Kaduna internal roads are also our project.” 

He further states that  the projects, which include the Saminaka – Bauchi Road, the Damau Milk Farm link road and an international project in Kano, are all surface dressing with drainages carried out based on retainership.

Opportunity for local contractors

On what the company seeks to achieve in the ultimate, the CEO, Engr. Sadiq Abubakar, Dan Iyan Tangale, tells Blueprint that “Farmtrac wants  to deliver quality work and on time for the people to enjoy, and to create more opportunities for other local contractors. We are only showing and demonstrating the competence of the local contractor. More than anything, the local contractor will always deliver quality job with the people and the nation in mind. That exactly is what we are doing here at Fatrmtarc.” 

‘Company quality personified’

Attesting to the company’s competence, a former majority leader, Kaduna State House of Assembly and member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. David Umar Gurara lauds Farmtrac for the quality of its work in Kachia.

 “I’m a PDP member from a different party, but Governor el-Rufai made a good choice in giving the 10km Kachia township roads to Farmtrac. 

“I came in September 2019 to start a university project in Kachia and Farmtrac has been of tremendous assistance to the project. I want the Governor to give Farmtrac other roads to continue to do the good work in Kachia. Engr. Sadiq Abubakar is a man of humility, determined to change Kachia to a city. 

“He is a developer of Kachia. Anywhere he goes, he turned it to his village. He has been very helpful to the Kachia community. Because of him we had successful construction of the university roads. He gave us many assistance and equipment,” the former lawmaker explains.

Kachia LG boss also attests 

Also speaking, Chairma Kachia local government council, Hon. Peter Agite commends  Governor Nasir el-Rufai for linking Ladduga with Kachia, just as he lauds the company for doing a commendable job.

“We thank God that Governor Nasir el-Rufai brought a capable contractor who is doing his best to bring Kachia to limelight. 

“Engr. Sadiq Abubakar has done very good works in Kachia township roads and GSS Kachia. He really has the love of Kachia at heart that is why I’m preaching to my people to remain in peace so that more development can come to Kachia,” he says.

KADRA explains choice 

On why the state government sticks to the company despite the deluge of its foreign counterparts, Managing Director Kaduna State Road Agency (KADRA) Engr. Mohammed Lawal Magaji says it’s all because of its track record of quality and prompt job delivery.   While expressing the belief that  Farmtrac can compete favourably against any foreign company, the KADRA boss says: “The government policy was to engage good indigenous company with good track record.

“Farmtrac has executed many projects in Kaduna state, and they have delivered good quality job, so we believe they can compete favourably with foreign companies with the quality of their work, that is why they are chosen for the 25km Kafanchan road network project.”

In similar vein, Principal Rimi College Kaduna Mrs Altine Ishaku Dauda expresses similar position. “Rimi College has changed. I want to thank Governor Nasir el-Rufai for taking Rimi College into heart. We don’t have good road before, but Farmtrac Nigeria Limited has constructed our road. I’m very very happy with what the company is doing. 

“Among the contractors handling projects in Rimi College, Farmtrac is the best, with very quality work. When I go to inspect the road work, I’m very happy with what I see. I rate the contractor highly. He is doing the work according to his plans and according to government standard.”

Also, Acting Principal Government College Kaduna, Malam Bello Fih showers praises on the governor. He says: “Government College is now wearing a new face. Formerly, there was no good road network, but now work is ongoing on the college road network. Farmtrac’s work can be equated to that of a foreign company. We really appreciate the quality of their work. It’s a job well done, the company is doing quality solid work, the drainage, the surfacing, the work is fantastic.”

Analysts’ view

To analysts, the competence and professionalism demonstrated by Farmtrac clearly demonstrate the readiness of the indigenous contractors to make a bold statement on quality job delivery. They are further of the view that other state governments should toe the line of the Kaduna state government, saying this will certainly go a long way in reducing youth unemployment and save the nation from capital flight.

Caption 1: Farmtrac equipment working on urban renewal project in Kafanchan, Jema’a LGA of Kaduna state 

Caption 2: The Laduga Cattle Crossing link bridge nearing completion

Caption 1: Farmtrac equipment working on urban renewal project in Kafanchan, Jema’a LGA of Kaduna state 

Caption 2: The Laduga Cattle Crossing link bridge nearing completion 

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