N350bn spent on South-West roads –Minister

The Federal Government has spent N350bn on road projects in the South-West in the last four years, an amount it says is the highest among the six geopolitical zones.

According to the government, 46.6 per cent of projects awarded by the present administration since it took over in 2011 have been completed and appreciable progress recorded in others.

The Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, stated this during a radio programme monitored by our correspondent in Abuja.

He said, “All over the country, the Jonathan administration has completely changed the narrative in the road sector. From the North-East, where we are investing over N320bn in road infrastructure, to the North Central where we are investing about N300bn; the North-West, where are investing N200bn, the South-East, where we are investing N345bn; to the South-West, where we are investing close to about N350bn; and to the South-South, where we are investing about N250bn, the whole country has virtually been turned into one huge construction site.”

Onolememen said the Federal Government had completed 62 out of the 133 road projects that it awarded since the beginning of the present administration.

The minister said, “What is important about all these projects embarked upon by this government is that out of the 133 of them awarded by the Jonathan administration, 62 have already been completed and tremendous progress has been made on the rest.”

He stated that the road sector needed about N500bn annually to adequately serve its purpose, but stressed that budgetary allocations could not meet the requirement.

Onolememen said, “When we set out to reposition our roads, we noticed a gap in the funding of road infrastructure in Nigeria. If you merge our requirement, which was an average of about N500bn yearly, against the budgetary provision of about N120bn, it is clear that we needed to do something quick to bridge that gap.

“We got thinking and we immediately embraced the public-private partnership paradigm and as well looked at other windows available, like the multilateral agencies, in order to source virtually interest-free loans and all that.”

Punch

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