Poor funding, compensation responsible for failed road contracts in Nigeria ― Fashola
says communities demand N10 billion compensation for 2nd Niger bridge
Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has attributed the failure of most road contracts in Nigeria to poor funding and payment of compensation to host communities.
The Minister stated this while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.
He revealed for instance that affected communities have demanded over N10 billion compensation by the Federation Government for the ongoing construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge.
He lamented that his ministry hardly accesses adequate funding to perform its statutory mandate, hence, the littering of uncompleted and abandoned projects all over the country.
The Minister, while responding to questions on poor state of roads, as well as the large number of abandoned projects dotting Nigeria’s landscape, Fashola listed “non-release of budgetary allocations and unreasonable compensation demands by host communities” as some of the key challenges faced by his Ministry in fixing the deplorable roads across the country.
Fashola said when the Buhari administration came into power in 2015, it concentrated on completing all abandoned projects rather than initiating new ones so as not to forestall development, adding that only N18billion was allocated for works in 2015 budget.
He added that the current government has been making efforts to complete ongoing road contracts left behind by its predecessor despite budgetary constraints.
Fashola said despite these challenges, a lot of progress has been made saying some of the projects appeared to be delayed because of lack of community support, over-blotted compensation sums submitted by the public and poor budgetary provisions which, most times were not even accessible.
Fashola had earlier announced FEC approvals for upward variation of contract costs for the rehabilitation and construction of some roads and bridges in Anambra, Kano and Benue States.
He said: “Today, two of the approvals were to revise the estimates of cost to enable contractors continue work.
“Council approved N519 million revision of contract of Oba Nnewi Okigwe Road to cater for change in cost of materials since the project was awarded in 2009. The contract sum revised from N3.7billion to N4.3 billion.
“The second contract that had a revision of estimated cost, is the 67 kilometres Alace-Ugep road in Cross River state, Council approved a revision from N9.16 billion to 11.22 billion, the revised cost is N2.052 billion.
“Council approved the change of contractor for the Chachangi bridge linking Takum and Wukari in Taraba State and re-awarded it at the cost of N2.132 billion.
“Katsina-Ala bridge was also approved at the cost of N3.576 billion, which include total bridge repairs, changing of expansion joints, changing of bearings and rehabilitation of the 3.2 kilometres access road at Ugbema junction in Benue State,” the Minister explained.
According to him, “ Getting FEC approvals is one half of the story, but we don’t get all of the cash. Even the local communities are not helping issues.
“As we speak, some people are asking us to pay N10b now, as compensation for the 2nd Niger bridge.
“There is a gap between infrastructure needs and income. People are also complaining that government is borrowing too much,” he said.