OVER 200 roads worth N2 trillion awarded by the Goodluck Jonathan administration will be completed across the country this year, it was learnt.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing Mr. Babatunde Fashola said this at a budget session with the House of Represdentatives’ committees on Power, Works and Housing and FERMA.
He told the committees, led by Toby Okechukwu, that the government owes road contractors over N1 trillion.
The minister said 206 projects were in diverse stages of completion, while contractors, consultants for engineering design and supervision consultants, etc. have not been paid.
On the 2016 budget proposal, Fashola said of the N433 billion proposed for the three critical sectors, N208 billion is for roads, N99 billion for power and N66 billion for housing.
“This underscores the need for diversifying the sources of funding highway projects.”
He presented a three-year plan (2016-2018) for the completion of major economic roads linking different states and regions, totalling over 6,000 kilometres.
He said some of the priority roads included: Sokoto-Kantagora-Makera Road, Katsina-Kano-Maidugari road, Hadeja-Nguru-Gashua Road, Ilorin-Jebba-Makowa, Lagos-Ibadan road, Enugu-Portharcourt, Calabar-Adokpani-Ikot road and Ajibandele-Sagamu road.
On the delay in the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan Express road, the minister blamed the concession agreement between the Federal Government and Bi-Courtney Limited, which he described as “problematic”.
Two court orders obtained by Bi-Courtney have stalled the project, he said.
His words: “The brief I have received was first, there was documented advice to government, that they should have never issued that concession. But government went ahead to issue and this perhaps explains the inability to perform.
“So many other things happened, like a change of government. But the last administration took the view that they wanted out of the concession and the company went to court seeking to be compensated and that the concession be restored.
“While that was going on government set up a finance, corporate and management agreement and that’s where Motorways came in. Money was raised by Motorways to fund the contractors, RCC and Julius Berger. Again, Bi-Courtney instituted went to court and got an order stopping any of the lenders under the Motorways contract…”
Okechukwu said there should be creative ways of funding important road projects and its time the ministry started thinking outside the box.