The Nigerian Government says due to the funding gap for inherited abandoned road projects worth the sum of N6 trillion, it may terminate the projects that have lasted for 10 to 20 years.
The government says most of the projects have no defined source of funding.
The Minister of Works, David Umahi, disclosed these while briefing state house correspondents after meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The government also said that it would engage the members of the National Assembly to prioritize road projects to end unhealthy appropriation of road infrastructure.
Umahi also made known that the Federal Ministry of Works under the current administration inherited a total number of 2,604 projects worth N14trillion for 18000 kilometers of roads.
He added that between the period of his assumption office as the Minister of Works to now, a sum of N4trillion has been paid while outstanding of N10trillion is remaining.
According to him, “The Ministry inherited a total of 2604 projects worth N14trillion for 18000 kilometres of roads and between when we came on board and now, about N4trillion has been paid we have the balance of N10trillion. This very balance we have defined sources that could fund them up to N4trillion so we have a funding gap of N6trillion that is available now.
“We have a lot of programs for our road development under the previous administration we inherited all the projects and we have not dropped any of the projects but some of these projects have lasted for 20 years while some have lasted for 10 years.” the Minister explained.
Umahi further revealed that in most cases, some of the projects were never appropriated through the tenure of successive governments hence consultation with the President to terminate some of the projects.
“In most cases, they were never appropriated throughout every tenure so I went to seek Mr. President’s nod so that I would be able to terminate some of the projects that have stayed up to years without any defined source of funding.”
He hinted that President Tinubu had approved some road construction projects while the Ministry has also proposed 17 roads to the President to approve for new processes of concessions.
Umahi stressed that the only way to move road infrastructure forward in Nigeria is to build the roads on concrete pavement and to get private sectors to engage in green belts.
The Minister mentioned that the government would engage the members of the National Assembly to prioritise road infrastructure while the administration of President Tinubu ensures value for money.
“I also noted and shared with the President that the way appropriation is been done is not healthy to develop our road infrastructure. For example, for a road that may cost N10b, an appropriation of 150m is made, it is just for the contractor to take and put in his pocket because when the average cost of the project that we inherited is about 700m per kilometre and you are giving out 150m for the whole year so it is like you are just enhancing the pocket of the contractor.
“So, I discussed with the President that there is a need to engage our National Assembly members so that they will be able to prioritise
“With 2,604 projects, 18000 kilometres of roads and N14 trillion naira, that is huge and the worrisome part of this is that even the ones that are funded properly hardly last up to 5 years.”
The Minister of Works also made known that President Tinubu has supported the introduction of reinforced concrete technology for road placement in Nigeria.
“So, I brief the President on what we are doing by introducing reinforced concrete technology for our road placement, incidentally Mr. President is an Infrastructure guru and he is fully in support. So, President Tinubu is supporting me that we should re-design our roads for reinforced concrete.”
He lauded President Tinubu for ensuring the continuity of projects, saying that the current administration has yet to initiate any project but rather has continued with the funding of inherited projects.