The federal government has invested N16.6 billion of the N100 billion Sukuk Bond for the rehabilitation of some roads in the South East geopolitical zone. In October 2017, the federal government had released the proceeds of the N100 billion Sukuk bond to 25 key economic road projects across the country.
The director of Highways, South East, Federal Ministry of Works, Mr Adetokunbo Sogbesan, made the disclosure in Enugu yesterday during a media tour of ongoing federal projects in the zone. Sogbesan said the investment is aimed at improving road infrastructure in the zone, adding that four different road sections were covered by the fund.
He listed the sections to include the Enugu – Onitsha expressway, Enugu – Lokpanta, Lokpanta – Abia Tower and Abia Tower – Aba section of the Enugu – Port Harcourt expressway. At the 9th Mile – Enugu section of the Enugu – Onitsha Expressway, Sogbesan expressed satisfaction on the job done so far by the contractors, Reynolds Construction Company Ltd (RCC).
He said the project, which covered a distance of 58km, is from Amansea in Anambra to Enugu. “Forty kilometres of the road is in Anambra while 18km is in Enugu section of the road. The contractors have achieved about 35 per cent completion of the project,” he said. He said that with the quality of job being done by the contractors, the road would make its expected lifespan of between 20 years and 30 years.
Sogbesan, however, expressed concern over the heavy traffic flow on the road. He said, “I pray we get more funding so as to deliver this project at the right time. This project will improve transportation infrastructure. The micro-economy impact of this road will go a long way to help Nigerians”.
Also, the federal controller of Works, Enugu, Mr Oluropo Oyetade, said that monitoring of the project had been encouraging since the contractors reported to site. Oyetade said that the contract with a completion period of 36 months was awarded in 2014 but was not funded till 2017, just as he noted that the job is expected to be delivered by December 2019.
In a related development, the federal government has said it will use Infrastructure Bond Investment from financial institutions and investors to expedite execution of road and housing projects across the country. According to a statement from the information unit of the Works department, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this while receiving institutional investors, including HSBC, China group 3 and 4 led by the managing director of Stanbic IBTC, Dr. Damola Sogunle, in his office yesterday.
Fashola explained that to finance road/bridge projects through Tax Relief and Islamic banking “Sukuk” cannot be enough to provide infrastructure development in Nigeria. He added that Infrastructure Bond Instrument will complement government efforts at providing the needed critical infrastructure to end users.
The Minister however expressed the need for a reset in the housing sector in the country, emphasising that the “financial establishment must stand as the vanguard of the reset” by borrowing a leaf from countries that have successfully utilised similar investment practice, such as United Kingdom.
Fashola disclosed that the Pilot Home for the National Housing Programme of the present administration has taken off in 33 states of the federation. This, he said, is made up of one to three bedrooms model, which are expected to be valued accordingly, considering the standard and infrastructure.
The minister further disclosed that the federal government, currently holding 40% equity in the power sector, is of the opinion that privatisation is logical, arguing that it has been successful in the media, banking, aviation sectors amongst others.
According to him, the Ministry will optimise on existing capacity even as government has approved distribution extension programme in power.