Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has restated his commitment toward reducing infrastructural deficit in the state.
Makinde stated this in Ibadan while flagging off the reconstruction of the 21-kilometre Airport – Ajia – New Ife express road on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the road project was awarded to an indigenous contractor, Messrs Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd, at a cost of N8.5 billion.
NAN also reports that the project is expected to be completed and delivered within 12 months.
The governor called for more funds to tackle the infrastructural deficit in the country.
To boost economic growth, the governor said ” we must strategise on how to increase our spending on infrastructure.”
“And this is how economies work; investors will only go where they can be assured of profits.
” If we do not develop basic infrastructure like roads, it will affect the cost of production, which in turn means less profit for investors.
“So, we cannot be seriously discussing attracting investment into Oyo State when majority of roads and other infrastructure are in a state of disrepair,” he said.
He also said his administration was deploying Alternative Project Funding Approach (APFA) to tackle infrastructural deficit.
“APFA is our way of funding some infrastructural projects in the state by having the contractors fund the projects with their own money while the state repays them over a period of time.
“What this entails is that the contractor carries the projects’ risk; at the same time, we get quality delivery and quick completion of projects.
“And so for projects under the APFA, because of the nature of spending on the projects, we decided that it will be best to open up the bidding process a little more so that contractors outside of Oyo State can bid as well.
“We reached this decision because we are looking for private entities who have the wherewithal to complete the projects on schedule while at the same time passing the test of quality assurance,” he said.
Speaking on the criticisms that trailed the cost of the contract, Makinde said:
” Some people had asked why the Airport-Ajia road project costs more per kilometre than the Moniya-Iseyin road, let me restate that when we want to make such comparisons, we should ensure that we are comparing apples to apples and not apples to oranges.
“One of the roads may appear longer, but when you visit the site, you will find that the Airport-Ajia road has more hydraulic structures, what you will call bridges in lay man’s terms.
“We will be embarking on the expansion and rehabilitation of these bridges as well.”
Earlier in his address of welcome, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Infrastructure, Mr James Adepoju, said the project was aimed at eliminating congestion, increase travel time and improve the capacity of the road.