A’Ibom urges FG to refund N140b spent on federal roads
The Federal Government has said that continuation of work on the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway will depend on budget virement proposal pending before the National Assembly.
It said the N10 billion budget currently allocated to the project could not sustain work on the road. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), stated this in an interview with journalists during an inspection tour of road projects in Lagos at the weekend.
He stressed that although the contract is still subsisting, the Federal Government was indebted to the contractors to the tune of N15 billion before the release of the 2017 budget of N10 billion, which is insufficient.
According to him, there was a virement proposal before the National Assembly for appropriation of funds for the project. The minister, who stated that the contractors were still being owed on the project but that the National Assembly was expected to solve the problem soon, said: “We have about N15 billion in unpaid certificates,” he said.
On the poor state of roads across the country, Fashola, who noted that raining season or winter period had always been a difficult time in road maintenance worldwide, said there were plans to step up road network maintenance between September and May next year.
He also appealed to the media to intensify civic enlightenment against stealing of manhole covers and vandalisation of public infrastructure in the country because of its negative effect on tax-payers.
Besides, the minister said his ministry was working to make all roads in Apapa and its environs motorable, saying that the reconstruction of the road being handled by the Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) was part of the Federal Government regeneration plan to improve efficiency in the port.
He appealed to the RCC Project Manager, Mr. Vaknin Harel, to speed up construction work along Funsho Williams Road to Ijora Bridge.
Harel, who promised to meet the deadline, said the construction firm was filling the road with more durable materials to asphalt stage to make the road last longer.
In another development, the Akwa Ibom Government has restated that the Federal Government owed it N140 billion spent on repair of federal roads in the state.
The state’s Commissioner for Works, Mr. Ephraim Inyang, who said this in an interview with The Guardian in Uyo, stated that the state government had done so much in opening the state for investors and the people of the state and if the Federal Government could pay what it owed the state, much more would be achieved.
He said: “The total debt the Federal Government owed the state on roads refund was N140 billion out of which N68 billion had been confirmed ready for payment but had not been paid. The last administration did perfect documentation and I believe that if the N68 billion that is ready for payment is paid to Akwa Ibom State government, His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel, would have used it to do so much work.”