About N6.26 trillion is needed to complete the about 711 federal high road projects across the country.
Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola made this known on Wednesday.
The Minister revealed this while defending the 2021 budget estimate of the Ministry before the House Committee on Works. Hon. Abubakar Kabir Bichi heads the committee.
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According to the Minister, inadequate funding has slowed down the pace of work on the road projects.
Fashola said it was difficult for the Ministry to accomplish all its objectives due to paucity of funds. He also said that rather than expanding the projects being financed through Sukuk, efforts should be channeled toward the completion of the entire green network. The project covers the four major ports, Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt and Calabar.
Out of the N227.964 billion budgeted for capital projects in the 2020 budget, about N152.150 billion has so far been released to his Ministry. This represents 66.74%, leaving a balance of N75.814.
He said about N162.559 billion worth of projects were financed through Sukuk Bond.
He said “The sum of N77.955 billion was released to the highway (Works sector) from the budget. This is aside the sum of N162.559 billion for the Sukuk issuance. The Sukuk is to be drawn down for works certified only in respect of 44 roads and bridges. The Ministry is still awaiting the payment of the first tranche of N54.8 billion. This is for work done as at 16/10/2020.
“The ministry is currently administering 711 number of contracts nationwide. As of 1st October, 2020 the ministry has a cumulative unpaid certificates in the sum of N392.020. This is for ongoing highway construction projects”.
On the 2021 budget proposal, Fashola disclosed that the sum of N435.319 billion was proposed for capital. It also covers personnel, overhead cost for the Ministry and its six parastatals. He also added that the N15.886 billion overhead is insufficient. According to him, this is due to various socio-economic factors such as cost of fuel, inflation rate, among others.
Responding to questions on the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), the Minister said three key national priority highway projects which include the rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion of Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan dual carriageway; construction of 2nd Niger Bridge and rehabilitation of Abuja-Kaduna-Kano dual carriageway were being financed under the scheme by the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
Fashola said the 44 roads and bridges were being financed through the N162.557 billion Sukuk bond are mainly dual carriageways on major arterial routes A1-A9 on the federal road networks.
He listed some of them to include A1 Lagos-Ibadan-Ilorin-Jebba-Jega-Tambuwal-Sokoto-Niger Republic Border; A2 Warri-Benin-Lokoja-Kaduna-Kano-Kongolam; A3 Port Harcourt-Aba-Enugu-Makurdi-Lafia-Jos-Bauchi-Potiskum-Maiduguri-Gambrou; A4 Calabar-Ugep-Ikom-Ogoja-Katsina Ala-Jalingo-Yola-Gombi-BamaMaiduguri; A5 Abeokuta-Ibadan; A6 Onitsha-Owerri; A7 Kaiama-Kishi; A8 Mayo Belwa-Jamtari Jada-Ganye and A9 Kano-Katsina-Jibia-Niger Republic Border and other major routes like Kano-Maiduguri, Onitsha-Enugu, Sapele-Ewu, Lagos-Badagry, Odukpani-Itu Bridge Head.
He also disclosed that the ministry is also working on a number of highway projects funded with multilateral loans for which the Federal Government contributes counterpart funding.
The Minister denied allegations that the Ministry gives preference for Julius Berger in the execution of high-profile contracts and called for the amendment of the Public Procurement Act with the view to accommodate small and medium construction company.
Speaking on the slow pace of work on the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano dual carriage way despite release of over N70 billion to the contractors, the Minister explained that with approximately 40,000 vehicles plying the road daily, the Contractor has to grapple with the challenges of staff security, diversion, location of utility such as electric poles, demolition of houses as part of efforts to get Right of Way.
Some of the lawmakers who spoke during the exercise including Hon. Ben Igbakpa queried the slow pace of work done by Julius Berge, despite release of N70 billion for Abuja-Zaria, N62.8 billion for Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan; N100.6 billion for the Second Niger Bridge while RCC has so far received N92 billion for Lagos-Shagamu contract.
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