FG in China-Exim $542m loan pact for Abuja-Masaka, other road projects

Babatunde Fashola

The Federal government, through the Ministry of Works, Power and Housing has applied for $542 million to finance the expansion of Abuja-Nyanya-Masaka highways and dualisation of Keffi-Lafia Maiduguri road, with loan application already processed by the Federal Ministry of Finance in conjunction with the Chinese authority.

Addressing the media in Lagos last week, during the progress report of his one year in office, Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, disclosed that the project is in phases, with 54 kilometres Abuja-Keffi dualisation as the first phase.

According to him, the borrowing plan has already got approval by the National Assembly, while the feasibility design also concluded, adding that government’s counterpart funding is 15 percent, while the project duration is 36 months. Handling the project is Messrs Harbour Engineer construction consortium.

He revealed that construction of major six pedestrian overhead bridges and barricades fencing had been carried out as part of support to Federal Capital Territory Administration on Road Safety Maintenance, while construction of six pedestrian overhead locations are ongoing.

The minister noted that choices were determined by roads that carried the heaviest cargo, to allow farmers, businessman, industries and travellers move their goods and themselves across the country in order to drive productive activity.

“We chose roads that support our energy sufficiency and put our resources in roads leading to and from petroleum tank farms so that we can move petro, diesel and kerosene across Nigeria. We also chose roads that led to and from our major sea and airports so that maritime business can go on, to drive the economy,” he said.

Going forward to 2017, Fashola stated that government has developed proposals for the budget to intervene in critical roads in the six Geo-political zones that lead to and from major food producing states based on information supplied by the Ministry of Agriculture.

“We plan to do the same for states that produce minerals from mining activity, and for states where we have strategic fuel depots. For decades, we have paid almost no attention to bridges built across the country as though they are indestructible.

“We are beginning to see erosion, stress, and in some cases failures and near collapse in Kano (Tamburawa), Lagos (Ijora), Kogi (Lokoja) Ogun (Long bridge on Lagos-Ibadan) Kaduna (Jaji) and other places,” he said.