The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has said that the Federal Government will focus on the completion of ongoing road and bridge projects in the country rather than beginning new ones, in the implementation of the 2021 budget.
In a statement issued by the Ministry of Works and Housing, Fashola listed the roads whose completion would be prioritized during the budget year to include those categorized as A1 – A9.
According to him, 18 of such road projects had reached appreciable level of completion and had been identified across the country for completion within 12 to 15 months.
The Minister stressed that the decision to prioritize the projects was in line with the mandate of the President, Muhammadu Buhari who repeatedly emphasized the necessity to focus the budget on completion of projects. Other categories of the road project the ministry would focus on for completion during the budget year include the ones that had attained 70 per cent completion.
Fashola further stated that the ministry would also focus on the maintenance of about 50 bridges nationwide as a measure to avoid further deterioration of the structures, which he described as critical.
He said, “Bridges like the Third Mainland Bridge, Koton Karfe Bridge and Makurdi Bridge are part of about 50 bridges being rehabilitated simultaneously among others.”
The Minister put the estimated cost of rehabilitating all the bridges at N80.984bn and pointed out that there was a need to address washouts and erosion envisaged with the subsiding discharge of flood waters nationwide in the course of each year.
Fashola noted that the ministry had selected two roads and a bridge in each of the six geopolitical zones for enhanced funding during the budget year. He also revealed that out of the 43 projects had been completed.
According to the minister, the 17.35 per cent cut in the 2020 budget made it impossible to pay contractors who were being owed N3.31bn while the money required to fix the remainder was N3.54bn. He added that the sum provided for highway project in the 2021 budget was inadequate to address the funding challenges of highway projects.