By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Minister of Works and Housing,Babatunde Fashola,said that the number of roads seeking government’s attention for completion and rehabilitation keeps increasing on daily basis while the resources required to fix them remained grossly inadequate.
Fashola disclosed this in Abuja during an interactive session of the Senate Committee on Works with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and its agencies.
A statement signed by Stephen Kilebi
DD (Press), said the minister maintained that it was the responsibility of his Ministry and its agencies to ensure that the roads in Nigeria were in good condition.
He also noted that the inability to complete the various road projects across the country was as a result of inadequate budget and release of funds.
While describing roads as national assets of any nation, Fashola called on all stakeholders in the Works Sector to come up with a hard decision on prioritization of roads for completion and rehabilitationon the basis of social and economic importanceto Nigerians. The Minister recommended the prioritization ofmajor link roads across the states and the roads to the various sea and airports across the country.
The minister who was enthusiastic with the calibre of the Senators that constituted the Committee on Works whom he described ascapable and tested men of proven integrity, added that with their support, the challenges on Nigerian roads would be overcome.
Earlier, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, Senator Mohammed Adamu Aliero stated that members of his Committee would collaborate with the Executiveto do the needful in addressing the challenges in the works sector.
As an option to address the funding challenge in the works sector, Senator Aliero, suggested sourcing for fund through local and foreign investors by concessioning some of our major roads.
“ I believe if we concession some major roads and get the contractors to construct those roads to international standards, they can recoup their investments within reasonable time by tolling the roads.
This will gradually reduce government involvement in road construction and allow the ministry focus on being the regulator in line with what is obtainable in many countries in the world.”
“I am very optimistic that the government of President Mohammadu Buhari and the 9th Senate will deliver roads of international standard to the people of Nigeria and in no distant time, they will notice qualitative transformation in the works industry,” the chairman added.
Other members of the committee in attendance at the interactive session amongst others include, Senators Abdullahi Adamu, Ike Ekweremadu, Orji UzorKalu, Kashim Shetima, Kabiru Gaya and Danjuma Goje.
On the minister’s entourage was: the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu, the Permanent Secretary, Mohammed Bukar and directors of the Ministry.