Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has blamed the increasing number of uncompleted road projects as well as those that need rehabilitation on insufficient funding.
He spoke during an interactive session between the Senate Committee on Works and officials of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and its agencies.
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The minister maintained that while the responsibility of his ministry and its agencies is to ensure that federal roads were in good condition, however, revealed that the inability of the federal government to complete the various road projects across the country because of inadequate budget allocation and release of funds.
While describing roads as the national asset of any nation, Fashola called on all stakeholders in the works sector to come up with the hard decision on prioritization of roads for completion and rehabilitation on the basis of social and economic importance to the nation.
The minister recommended the prioritization of major link roads across the states and the roads to the various sea and airports across the country.
He expressed delight that with the calibre of senators in the committee and with their support, the challenges facing federal in the country roads would be overcome.
Earlier, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, Senator Mohammed Adamu Aliero stated that members of the committee would collaborate with the executive to do the needful in addressing the challenges in the works sector.
As an option to address the funding challenge mentioned by the minister, Sen. Aliero, suggested sourcing for funds through local and foreign investors by concessioning some of the major federal roads.
“I believe if we concession some major roads and get the contractors to construct those roads to international standards, they can recoup their investments within reasonable time by tolling the roads.
“This will gradually reduce government involvement in road construction and allow the ministry focus on being the regulator in line with what is obtainable in many countries in the world.
“I am very optimistic that the government of President Mohammadu Buhari and the 9th Senate will deliver roads of international standard to the people of Nigeria and in no distant time, they will notice qualitative transformation in the works industry,” the chairman added.