Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, yesterday said the Federal Government was owing contractors handling road projects in the country about N1 trillion.
The minister, who disclosed this during the 2016 budget proposal defence at the House of Representatives joint budget hearing on Urban Development and Regional Planning, Power, Works, and Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, said there were no less than 200 ongoing road projects awarded by the previous administration which gulped N3 trillion, with an outstanding payment of N1 trillion.
But he noted that the three ministries under his watch, had to work with the budget of N433 billion in the 2016 fiscal year, adding that he had resolved to make do with what was available.
The minister noted that there was the consideration to bring back toll gates on the country’s highways by the Federal Executive Council, FEC.
Fashola said the nation’s economy stood down as a result of the general elections in the country last year and that because the government was not spending, the economy stood down.He said that his ministry had prioritised the roads to be constructed in the country and that such roads should be the ones that would drive the economy and also serve the North and South, East and West as well as give value to movements of tankers and other goods.
He said another consideration in the construction of roads would be on the ones that had the heaviest traffic, and those nearing completion that could be accelerated and concluded fast.
He said a three-year work plan had been evolved and that about 2000 kilometres of roads would be done in year one, another 2000 kilometres in year two and the same number of kilometres of roads in year three.The minister stressed that the roads spread across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Giving a breakdown of the ministry’s budget, Fashola said N208 billion would be expended on roads, N99 billion on power, with N66 billion for Housing.
He noted also that over-head had the allocation of N17, 843 billion, while seven parastatals under the ministry, including FERMA, Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation and the Federal School for Survey, FSS, would share N26, 715 billion.
Fashola acknowledged that huge monies would be required to maintain roads on regular basis and urged the legislators to complement the envisaged policy with relevant legislation aimed at achieving the desired goal.The projects listed as topmost priorities include 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.
However, the committee queried why N50 billion was allocated to the Lagos-Ibadan Road alone.