800 road contracts awarded under Buhari’s administration, says Fashola

 

Babatunde Fashola, minister of works and housing, says the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has awarded 800 road contracts since it came on board six years ago.

 

Fashola spoke on Thursday at the weekly ministerial press briefing organised by the presidential communication team at the presidential villa, Abuja.

 

He said the work done consists of highways bridges, covering a distance of over 13, 000 kilometers.

 

“The number of contracts awarded is 800, not 800 projects. Sometimes within a road you might have multiple contracts. For instance Kano to Maiduguri there are five different contracts that are unique,” he said.


“If you look at the Lagos Ibadan, there are two contracts there, for Enugu- Port Harcourt there are five contracts there. So each one has a designated supervising project officer, so in that sense it is right to say we have 800 plus contracts.”

 

Fashola also refuted claims that Nigeria has a housing deficit of 17m units, noting that a country with many empty houses cannot be classified as such.

 

According to him, the pressure on housing in the country was caused by rural-urban migration, which he said created a supply problem.

 

He emphasised that even though people leave their houses in the rural areas to squat in the cities, it does not amount to housing deficit in the country.

 

“It’s illogical to say we have housing deficit when you have empty houses. No such deficit exist anywhere in the world,” Fashola added.

 

“We are not in a housing crisis. Housing shortages that exist are in urban centers not in rural areas. The problem is as a result of urbanisation where people move from rural to urban centers.”

 

Fashola said he had consulted the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), international organisations such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB), and confirmed that the Nigerian housing deficit reports are not correct.

 

He advised citizens to disregard such reports.

 

The minister said the actual housing deficit in Nigeria cannot be ascertained until another census is conducted in the country.

 

Explaining the difficulty in completing the East/West road, Fashola explained that though about 70 percent of the road was completed, it was under the purview of the Niger Delta ministry.

 

He also attributed the bad state of the Itu/Odukpani/Calabar road to the difficult terrain, stressing that cost of building roads in the area was high.

 

Also speaking on infrastructural development, he said the present administration has taken bold steps to execute projects that seemed impossible for previous governments, citing the Second Niger Bridge, Lagos-Oworonshoki road, Third Mainland Bridge repairs, Kano-Abuja road among others.

 

He said the ministry most times suffers a budget deficit as the money due to the ministry to meet its contractual obligations is not fully released.

 

Fashola added that budget deficit remained a challenge despite the current administration’s achievement in infrastructure development.

 

“The budget for roads in Nigeria in 2015 that we inherited was N18 billion for all Nigerian roads. 2015 was also the year that I left office as Governor of Lagos so the budget for Lagos State roads for that year was about N70 billion and it was not enough so I don’t see how 18 would have been enough for the whole of Nigeria.

 

 “But the first roads budget for the Buhari administration was N260 billion the next, N240 billion, next N356 billion then we have come down to N233, N237 and so on and so forth. We are doing a lot more with less resources.”

 

He said six new federal secretariats arising from the creation of new states where assets were separated are currently being constructed.

 

“The ones in Anambra and Zamfara are the likely to finish this year. The one in Nasarawa and Bayelsa will run into probably next year while Ekiti is in the race to finish next year.”


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