Minister wants emergency fund for road repairs

 The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola has called for an emergency fund for periodic repairs on expressways across the country.
Fashola said this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Works and Housing for 2022 budget defence on Friday in Abuja.

The minister decried inadequate budgetary provisions for the ministry, stressing that such fund would help boost the budget of the ministry.
“It will be helpful if we can have something like an emergency fund to deal with failures that happen each season.
“After the rainy season, failures on the road show up. We must be able to restore. So that kind of thing will be helpful.

“We need to provide for this because we can’t provide for example, emergencies because it is going to rain again next year, communities are going to be washed off; bridges will be washed off.
“People will need relief instantly. And if we don’t provide for it, then we are in a very difficult place,’’ he said.
On multiple funds for road projects, Fashola said that Sukuk was an option outside the budget.

“The Sukuk is another option outside of what the budget provides. We started with 25 roads with a N100 billion in 2017.
“At the request of our people, the number of roads increased from 25 to 44. But the Sukuk increment has risen from N100 billion to N162,’’ he said.
On compensation, the minister said that compensations were inflated by land owners when it is a federal project.

“I can’t absolve anybody. In instances where we have paid, some beneficiaries would come back to us and say that they got only N2, 000 or N50, 000.
“There is an interchange of agents, attorneys, lawyers, estate valuers in between and community leaders who receive it,’’ he added.

Fashola said that the ministry’s 2022 budget was N450 billion.
The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Adamu Aliero said that the issue of compensation must be handled by state governments.
“Land belong to the state governors and it is the responsibility of the governors to pay for compensation.

“The Federal Government is building roads in their states, if they want those roads to be built, they should pay for the compensation for houses or structures that will be demolished,’’ he said.(NAN)