The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola says the Federal Government is undertaking a total of 854 highway contracts worth N7.430 trillion across the country through various intervention funding arrangements.
The Minister disclosed this at the 2021 budget performance and defence of N450.029 billion proposed for the 2022 fiscal year, hosted by the House Committee on Works and chaired by Lawmaker, Hon. Abubakar Kabiru.
He said the interventions include: the Highway projects financed through Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund PIDF), being managed by Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Road Infrastructure Development & Refurbishment Investment, Tax Credit Scheme (RIDRITCS) being used to finance 9 federal roads; Sovereign Sukuk Fund being used to finance 44 roads and bridges and Multilateral Loans, among others.
Fashola at the defence also solicited the support of the National Assembly towards the completion of ongoing critical road projects and budgetary allocation for the completion of the Second Niger Bridge in the South-East in 2022.
He urged the lawmakers not to introduce new roads and other projects in the 2022 budget until progress is made with the ongoing projects, he observed that major challenges impeding timely completion of projects are insufficient budgetary provision and releases for projects to sustain annual cash-flow requirement levels.
“Let us concentrate our limited resources to complete or progress some of what we have started; in finding the solution, I will be happy, there are a couple of roads in Osun State and we cannot finish all of them in one budget circle.
“If the parliamentarians from each state can come together and say, this is one priority project for us and decide that let us move our zonal intervention project and say this is what we want to achieve; it is an honest conversation we must have,”
Expressing worry over the disparity between the actual 2022 indicative cost of executing road projects of N1,384,622,535,379.62 and the actual Budget Envelope of N282,636,433,510.69, leaving a deficit of N1.102 trillion, the Minister said the prioritization of funding in the 2022 budget becomes imperative to make an appreciable impact.
He said the Ministry has identified some strategic road projects that have already attained some appreciable percentage completion and slated them for completion within the period 2021-2023.
On the total outstanding payment to contractors, he disclosed that the duly certified and approved works as of 20th October 2021 stands at N420,583,705,963.48, adding that out of the total amount allocated to the ministry for capital expenditures, N182.97 billion has been so far released.
He further explained that of the amount released, N114 billion was allocated to the works sector while the housing sector got N68 billion.
In his remarks, Chairman, House Committee on Works, Hon. Abubakar Kabiru assured of the House’s support for the introduction of tolling to some selected roads.
“As you are all aware, Nigeria has a huge road infrastructure gap that must be bridged, if we are to have meaningful and sustainable economic growth. The economy of a country is determined by the good road network the country has. So, the task of developing a sustainable and vibrant economy for Nigeria starts in this room.
“There is still a lot to be done in the development of our road infrastructure. To overcome the problems of grossly insufficient budgetary provisions, we need to be creative in sourcing funds.
“Let me commend the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari for introducing various PPP schemes to address this problem. These can be seen in laudable interventions such as the Tax Credit Scheme, Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI), SUKUK Bonds, and the Presidential Infrastructure Development Funds (PIDF).”