Uche Usim, Abuja
The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has urged Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Federal Capital Territory and the environs to vacate their disputes currently being handled by security agencies and bring them to its Dispute Resolution Council (DRC) for swift resolution.
It added that the centre has handled several cases worth millions of naira since it was set up last year, revealing that it was organizing a workshop on the 07th and 8th of May 2019 to enlighten the business community in Nigeria on the need to seek ADR in tackling disputes.
Speaking at a press briefing in its office on Wednesday, Emeka Obegolu, Chairman, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dispute Resolution Council (ACCI-DRC) said participants for the planned workshop will include relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), contractors, senior managers or contracting officers, senior contract managers, lawyers, Company Secretaries, general counsels, ADR experts, procurement officers and anyone else interested in the evolving process of dispute resolution in the federal contracting space.
According to him, the ACCI-DRC sees ADR as vital as it continues to provide assurance as a veritable instrument for preventing and resolving contractual disputes.
He said: “The main objective of the government contracts dispute workshop is to provide opportunity for all stakeholders to exchange views on the dilemmas they face within the context of contractual disputes.
“Other objectives include: create a platform to access information, updates or risk factors in relation to the Federal Government procurement system; provide an avenue for information exchange with relevant stakeholders on the efficacy of ADR in responding to government contractual disputes;
strengthen the capacity of ADR experts and interlocutors for effective resolution of disputes, among others.
“For us at ACCI-DRC, to register your complaint, you pay N20,000 and that covers documentation and all.
“We get parties to sign arbitrate forms before anything else so that it is binding.
“We’re more concerned about healing broken relationships, some disputes we’ve handled are worth even N1 billion. Some N500 million.
“We provide multi-doors to resolve issues. We’ve arbitration, mediation, etc for commercial disputes”, he explained.
Also speaking at the event, Vice President, Legal Department of ACCl, Bukhari Bello said the upcoming workshop was being organized for stakeholders in the business space to agree on how to resolve disputes amicably.
“If you look around, you will see so many abandoned projects with many of them embroiled in various disputes of contractors and the government.
“The workshop will bring stakeholders together and talk about many issues including how contractors can resolve disputes and address the issues of abandoned projects, delayed payment, contractors squabble, unpaid loans due to stalled projects, etc,” he said.