FG owes road contractors over N11tn – Fashola

Marcus Amudipe
Marcus Amudipe
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Tuesday revealed that the federal government is owing contractors about N11.16tn for the construction of various highways across the country and certificates of completion.

According to The PUNCH, Fashola made this known while defending the proposed budget of his ministry in the 2023 Appropriation Bill, said his ministry had currently awarded 1,642 highway contracts for 1,632 projects at a total sum of N10.395tn.

Fashola claimed, “The major issue to highways development in the country remains inadequate finance,” while testifying before the House of Representatives Committee on Works in Abuja on Tuesday, with members requesting him to “take a bow and depart” following his presentation. As of today, the government has committed to highway contractors to the tune of around N10.4 trillion, with a total of almost N765 billion in unpaid certificates for completed works.

“Secondly, the shortage of younger engineers/technical officers in the ministry as a result of embargo on employment is affecting proficient project supervision at the sites. It is expected that more sources of funding of highway projects be explored as well as lifting the embargo on employment of needed engineers/technical officers at middle level to enhance supervision of projects.”

The minister read to the committee from his written presentation and stated that of the approximately 13,000 kilometers of roads currently being (re)constructed, the regime has built highways totaling around 8,000 kilometers.

“These are the people activities behind the kilometers (of constructed road),” he said, adding that the ministry had tracked the creation of 339,955 employment across road projects.

He said that 1,663,954 linear meters of lane marking, which were previously invisible on our roads but are now starting to surface, contributed to the creation of some of the jobs.

The minister also mentioned that as of 2015, there were 250,583 missing traffic signs.

The construction firms, according to Fashola, used 1,002,960,851 liters of diesel for a variety of projects.

“Construction companies don’t buy diesel; they buy from the market. All of these suppliers are small businesses who benefit from and are impacted by what we do.”

The minister added, “These are operations going on, influencing people beyond what we do here,” after stating that the contractors used 1.6 million tonnes of cement.

He emphasized that the projects had used, among other resources, 3,371,000 tonnes of bitumen and 512,000 tonnes of reinforcement.

He emphasized that the projects had used, among other resources, 3,371,000 tonnes of bitumen and 512,000 tonnes of reinforcement.

Fashola further said, “It is to be noted that as at October, 2022, the ministry had a cumulative unpaid certificates in the sum of N765.017bn for ongoing highway and bridge projects. Apart from the pressure of resources to pay, there is the inadequacy of annual budget provisions where N100m or N200m was provided for roads costing N20bn or more.

“In spite of all odds, 20 major highway projects have so far been completed in 2022 and are ready for commissioning. The total cost of the completed projects is in the sum of N444.322,123,808.61 and they cover a total length of 379.677km. Additionally, there are 59 major highways/bridges priority projects that are at advanced level, to be completed within 2022-2023, with a total contract sum of N60,961,187,130.71.”

Fashola also noted that the ministry had initiated an intensive bridge maintenance programme to ensure serviceability of the major assets, adding that bridges were critical structures that guaranteed connectivity across the federal road network.

“Some bridges have never been maintained since they were constructed over 40 years ago. Furthermore, illegal commercial (human) activities, which are detrimental to these national assets, contributed to their deterioration,” he stressed.

The minister stated that while the ministry’s overhead cost for 2022 was N627.001 million, N365.750 million was released from January to July, or 58.33 percent, leaving an outstanding balance of N261.250 million.

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