Nigeria Needs N2trn To Fix 6,000km Road Networks | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Nigeria Needs N2trn To Fix 6,000km Road Networks

Posted: Dec 11, 2015 at 10:26 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Nigeria needs N2 trillion for 206 road contracts covering over 6,000 kilometres, but only a paltry N13 billion was released from the N18.123 billion 2015 budget earmarked by the Federal Ministry of Works. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who disclosed this during a meeting tagged: “Setting the agenda for delivering change,” held with the ministry’s stakeholders, blamed poor budgetary allocation for the sorry state of road network in the country.

The minister noted that records from the previous budgets revealed that the last time Nigeria budgeted over N200 billion for roads was in 2002. He said that despite the increase in oil prices over the last decade, spending on roads had dwindled. “We are at a point where the 2015 budget made a provision of about 16 per cent, amounting to approximately N557 billion, for capital spending out of a total budget of over N5 trillion,” he said.

Due to lack of payment, the minister explained that since May, 2015, many of the contractors had stopped work because of payment. He said: “This has resulted in job loss by construction workers. Figures from only four companies sampled suggested that at least 5,150 workers have been laid off as at March 11, 2015.

“If we realise that there are at least 200 contracts pending, on the basis of one company per contract and if each contractor has only 100 employees at each of the 200 contract sites, it means that at least the 20,000 people who lost their jobs can return to work if the right budget is put in place and funded for contractors to get paid. “The possibility to return those who have just lost their jobs back to work is the kind of change that we expect to see by this short term strategy,” he explained.

Fashola noted that ability to achieve connectivity of roads would depend on capital spending in 2016 to pay contractors and get them back to work. He said that would depend on the ability to start with roads that have made some progress and could be completed to facilitate connectivity. “We will prioritise within this strategy by choosing first the roads that connect states and from that grouping start with those that bear the heaviest traffic,” he said.

The minister explained that there would be need to re-claim the full width and set back of all federal roads, representing 16 per cent and about 36,000 kilometres of Nigeria’s road network immediately. He advised people that infringed on nation’s highways, whether by parking, trading or erection of any structure to immediately remove, relocate or dismantle them voluntarily.

Fashola added: “For clarity, it is important to say that although the state governments own 18 per cent of the total road network of about 200,000 kilometres, while the local governments own the balance of 66 per cent, the 16 per cent owned by the Federal Government carries an estimated 70 per cent of the total traffic because of their length, width and inter-state connectivity.”