Saturday 10th December, 2016
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2nd N/Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Road top FG's priority projects

2nd N/Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Road top FG's priority projects

·   To spend N31bn on Oshodi-Apapa Road, others
·   Plans to make FERMA Nigeria’s biggest construction firm
 
The Federal Government has listed the 2nd Ni­ger Bridge and the La­gos-Ibadan Expressway as the major projects it will dil­igently deploy resources to exe­cute this year.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja when he ap­peared before the National As­sembly to defend the Ministry’s 2016 Budget.
Fashola told the Senate Com­mittee on Works that “the Fed­eral Government’s plan is to first address economic routes so that a section can at least be completed.
“For 16 years we have not fin­ished the Lagos-Ibadan Road, so we want to work in one place at a time.
“The Second Niger Bridge is another project that is of priori­ty to the Federal Government be­cause of its importance.”
Apparently angry with the zero-implementation of 11 road projects estimated to cost about N4 billion despite the release of mobilisation fees, the Senate Committee directed Fashola to get the contractors to account for the money or honour the contrac­tual agreement.
The Chairman of the Com­mittee, Senator Kabiru Gaya, who frowned at the development, said it was unacceptable to have mo­bilised the contractors with part payment of the N4 billion con­tractual sum without their exe­cuting the project.
He directed the ministry to update the committee with de­tails of the contracts awarded in 2015 and their statuses.
According to Gaya: “Eleven contractors have collected mobili­sation fees and there is zero imple­mentation; some collected N500 million and one of the contractors collected N1billion.
“For instance, in the case of dualisation of Otukpo township roads, N1billion was paid to the contractors. Honourable Minister, you need to check that and give us details in the next meeting. There is no point giving a contractor mobilisation fees when he can­not perform,” he said.
On the ministry’s budget, Gaya pointed out some roads in the country that were given zero allocations and urged Fashola to consider some of the roads in view of their link to major cities in the country.
The lawmaker said the com­mittee would work on the budget to ensure that funds were properly and adequately allocated.
He said: “I appreciate your ef­fort and concern, Hon. Minister, but we have to know what you are spending yearly on the roads and how to generate funds and see how we can achieve success.”
In his response, Fashola ex­plained that not all the contrac­tors who were mobilised had zero performances.
He said: “It is important to take the assessment that the com­mittee has made on mobilisation into context. In my document, contract performance is not zero.
“My understanding here is that going by the entire contract sum of N9.9 billion, by law, the contractors should get at least 15 percent to move to site.
“The part where we have zero performance in the document, if a contractor was supposed to get N1.5 million and he got N500 million, he cannot be mobilised. We will check and get back to you,” he said.
Fashola disclosed that the sum of N10 billion is budgeted for work on the Abuja-Lokoja Road while N16 billion is earmarked for Kano-Maiduguri Road. He added that the rehabilitation of the Apa­pa-Oshodi Road would gulp N5 billion.
This brings the allocations for the three projects to N31 billion.
According to him, in a bid to achieve results, the ministry has come up with a plan to implement road projects based on needs.
The minister said that the Federal Government would “strengthen the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to become the biggest construc­tion company owned by gov­ernment so that some construc­tion works can be carried out by them” .
He said the ministry would consider Public Private Partner­ship (PPP) to adequately gener­ate funds for completion of road projects across the country.
The minister, however, called for review of relevant laws to fast-track the processes involved in public, private partnership, add­ing that the hitches experienced in the course of such partnership had discouraged investors over time.

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