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‘Stop Agitating for New Roads, FG owes Construction firms N392bn’- Minister

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has appealed to Nigerians to build a national consensus to stop the agitation for new road projects, but to agree on completion of ongoing road projects that cut across the six zones of the country due to budgetary constraints.

Fashola while stating that the focus of the 2021 budget proposal of his ministry will be the completion of priority road projects across the country added that “given the wide disparity between the ministry’s liabilities in unpaid certificates and the volume of road projects, it had become imperative for them to prioritise its 2021 capital proposal”.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by the Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Boade Akinola, Fashola said it “was in order to make appreciable impact on road infrastructure development”.

“The ministry has given priority first to about 18 road and bridge projects that have attained some appreciable level of completion. We are focusing on roads that have attained 70 per cent completion levels”, the statement read.

He said the ministry was “currently undertaking a total of 711 highway projects spread across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria”

The statement stated that the 711 ongoing road projects were “categorised according to funding mechanisms which include projects financed with Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund, Sovereign Sukuk Fund, tax credit, as well as those funded from multilateral sources”.

On highway projects financed with the Sovereign Sukuk Fund, Fashola said the ministry was “financing a total of 44 roads and bridges across the country using the 2020 sovereign Sukuk issuance”.

Meanwhile, Fashola has revealed that the Federal Government owe construction firms handling 711 road projects across the country N392bn.

The debt, according to the minister, was higher than the N276bn, proposed as budgetary allocation for road projects in 2021.

“With the situation on ground, a stop has come for new projects and the country needs to prioritise the existing ones in order to complete some of them”, he said.

He said N6.62tn was needed by the Federal Government to fund the 711 road projects across the country.

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