FG to spend N277bn on 42 bridge projects

FEDERAL Government through the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, has developed a three-year plan to cover 42 bridges that will require about N277 Billion authorisation by National Assembly over the period.

The ministry has equally received representation from the National Assembly about roads in their constituencies and from the monthly Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) reports, all of which have been factored into the next three-year plan.

Minister in charge of the ministry, Babatunde Fashola, who disclosed this as part of his one-year anniversary said his ministry had 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 in 2017.

He said that the ministry also planned to do the same for states that produced minerals from mining activity, and for states where there were strategic fuel depots.

On housing, the minister said that the ministry was yet to start constructing houses across the country. Fashola, however, disclosed that tenders had been considered and over 500 contracts now ready to be issued for work to start in earnest.

According to him, the ministry received land from 27 states as at October 24 while more were still responding.

He said, “We have completed simple designs of one, two and three-bedroom bungalows for the northern states to respond to the cultural, climatic and land use peculiarities.

“We have completed simple designs of one, two and three bedroom blocks of flats for Southern states also in response to similar peculiarities.

“We have identified inputs like doors, windows, tiles, paint, roofing materials that can be made locally and we have resolved to use only made in Nigeria inputs unless there is no local production capacity.

“We have done some inventory of quantities of materials needed in order to provide investment information for local manufacturers to position to respond and supply in order to create employment and get factories back to work,” he said.

The minister disclosed that the ministry inherited over 100 transmission projects for which contractors were not paid for about three years.

“This not only resulted in stoppage of work; laying off of workers, but left projects uncompleted,” he said.

He said, “But it also resulted in contractors abandoning over 800 containers, which contained transformers, switches, panels and other equipment needed as materials to complete transmission projects because they could not pay for them.

“To compound the situation, there was no provision in the budget of 2015 to pay them as only N5 billion was budgeted for the Ministry of Power.

“All this has changed. The ministry has N24 billion for 2016 and has started paying contractors and getting the necessary approvals for them to return to work.

“As at November 5, 2016, reports reaching me from the control centre showed a peak generation of 4010mw, and this is without the 3000mw lost to gas pipe vandalisation.

“I am aware that efforts are in progress to repair and restore the damaged gas pipelines, and also to fast-track emergency gas supply.

“On the distribution side, we continue to work with the DisCos to improve their customer service and in particular meters supply,” he said.