The Senate Committee on Works will liaise with the House of Representatives, the Executive on provision of an emergency fund to clear the N420billion owed road contractors by the Ministry of Works and Housing.
Senate’s move for an emergency fund for the ministry was hinged on presentation by the Minister, Mr Babatunde Fashola, when he appeared before the committee to defend the ministry’s 2022 budget.
Fashola had in his presentation told the Senators that the total money owed contractors on completed road projects was N420 billion.
He said the liability was far above the N350billion projected for funding of road projects in the 2022 budget .
Fashola also said that there was need for yearly N45 billion emergency fund for road repairs as practiced in other nations.
” For roads to be in good shape at any time of the year for users , in Britain for example intervention from special fund , is made to put roads in good shape particularly after Winter .
” Here in Nigeria , since raining season is the period roads and bridges used to have problems , fund for emergency fixing of any affected one should be put in place which may be between the radius of N45 billion ” ,he said .
The Chairman of the Committee , Sen. Adamu Aliero ( APC- Kebbi), who expressed concearn about the liability told the Minister that the National Assembly would intervene in the raising of the N420billion owed contractors .
” This committee and that of the House of Representatives will meet with the leadership of the National Assembly for needed collaboration with the executive on how to raise the money and offset the debt .
” The N350billion proposed for road projects in the 2022 budget should be used for completion of the ones that are up to 70 per cent execution across the country .
” Road sector is very important and vital in evaluating the performance or otherwise of any government, the very reason federal government should continue with the massive road projects being executed across the country .
” Honourable Minister , for us in this committee and by extension , the Senate , the tempo should be sustained in presenting concrete things to Nigerians in 2023 for the purpose of election .
” We shall from this end collaborate with the executive for emergency fund to clear the N420 billion liability as required motivation for key players in the sector to do more,” Alero said .
Earlier also, Fashola had said that a total of N450billion was proposed for the Ministry and its parastatals for capital overhead and personnel estimates in the 2020 budget.
According to him, the focus of 2022 budget proposals of the ministry is hinged on completion of some priority road projects, especially those on route A1 – A9.
” These are roads and bridges that lead to ports and major agricultural hubs and carry Heavy goods vehicles across the six geo – political zones “,he said .
Fashola, who hinted that the second Niger Bridge would be completed in 2022,also revealed that federal government has resolved not to execute any road project that state governments was not willing to pay compensation to land and crop owners.
News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that members of the committee in their separate submissions commended the federal government and the minister on the several road projects constructed across the six geo – political zones of the country.(NAN)