House committee advocates alternative funding for infrastructure

Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

Members of the House of Representatives joint committee on Power, Works and Housing have stressed the need for alternative funding for infrastructure development in the country.

This came to the fore when the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola appeared before the committee to defend budget estimates of his ministry.

Members while commenting on the Minister’s presentation said, exploring alternative source of funding will reduce the high amount government spent on infrastructure such as roads.

Members were also critical with the amount of money spent on Consultancy Service and Project designs despite the number of qualified personnel in the system (public service) that could do the job.

The Minister, Babatunde Fashola said government was working towards ensuring that the ministry leads all constructions of infrastructure from design to completion.

Railway Transport

While querying the spread of federal roads billed to receive attention in the 2016 budget members advocated for exploring railway transport system to reduce pressure on roads.

Fashola who proposed over N285billion for the ministry said priority will be given to federal highways that are of economic value in the country to ensure speedy completion.

He said “highways and bridges expected in priority one will link major economic hubs in the country and have both national and international importance to trade and socio economic development. The highway projects will be categorized into three priorities.”

On the other hand, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, has defended its budget before the House Committee of Anti-Corruption.

The Chairman of the Committee, Akinloye Babajide, expressed concern over the poor funding of the agency and stressed the need of ICPC to closely monitor the budget implementation to reduce corrupt tendency by the MDAs.