The minister of works and housing Mr Babatundae Raji Fashola has expressed concern that inadequate funds may hamper the progress of the 711 highway projects the ministry is currently working on.
The minister express the concern when he appeared before the house of representatives committee on works to defend the ministry’s 2020 budget performance as well as the ministry’s 2021 budget proposal
On releases from 2020 budget Fashola said the ministry of works and housing received a total sum of N152.149, which represents 66.75 percent of N227.963 being the capital allocation in the 2020 appropriation.
On the 2021 the minister told the committee that the ministry is currently undertaking a total of 711 projects spread across the nation’s six geo-political zones at a total contract sum of N6.26 trillion.
The minister who said the highway projects are categorised according funding mechanism said the ministry is currently financing a total of forty four (44) roads and bridges using the sovereign Sukuk issuance in the sum of N162.557 billion.
Fashola said in order to make appreciable impact within the period of 2022-2023 the ministry has embarked on prioritization of it’s 2021 capital proposals.
The capital projects comprised roads and bridges that leads to ports and major agricultural hubs across the six geo-political zones.
Fashola said in line with president Muhammadu Buhari’s directive on completion of ongoing projects , the ministry has given priority first to eighteen (18) roads and bridges projects that have already attained some appreciable physical achievement for completion within 12-15 months .
He added that the ministry is also go focusing on roads that have attained 70 percent completion to achieve substantial completion levels
Fashola also said the ministry has undertaken the maintenance of bridges as a prioy to avoid further deterioration of the critical structures.
The minister said the ministry has selected two (2) roads and a bridge per zone for enhanced funding in the 2021 budget to achieve appreciable progress.
The minister told the lawmakers that the ministry has undertaken repairs and reconstruction of internal roads in Federal tertiary institutions. He added they there are currently 43 of such projects being undertaken and 18 have been completed.
Fashola however said that the amendment of the 2020 budget by 17.36 percent cut has made it impossible for the ministry to pay contractors and complete others.
He said the amount owed contractors who have completed their projects is N3.397 billion while the sum of N3.538 billion is required to complete the remaining projects.
Fashola appealed to the committee to make provision for special funds to enable effectively respond to emergencies .