The Federal Government will need to invest a total sum of N2 trillion, over a period of four years, for the country to achieve its target of a sustainable road network.
The figure was given by the Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, on Wednesday in Abuja. According to him, inadequate funds continued to be the major challenge faced by the ministry of works and this had led to the slow pace of some arterial roads projects.
“There are some arterial roads that are affected by the lack of the required funds; if you ask me, for us to be able to drive these roads to the level Nigerians want, we need to be investing about N500 billion in road development in the ministry of works every year in the next four years,” he said.
“But a situation where what we get is not up to N100 billion you can imagine the predicament we have sometimes and we have to prioritise.
“It’s like you have a requirement that will for instance cost you about 500 billion naira and you have maybe 70 to 80 billion naira to play with.
“So funding, no doubt, is a limitation, but even within that limitation we are doing our utmost best to ensure that such critical fate section of the federal road are tackled within the little resource that is available to us.’’
According to Onolememen, the budgetary allocation alone is not enough to stimulate the road development that would sustain the economy of the nation.
He said that was why it was mandatory for every country to have a special fund set aside for infrastructural development.
“That was what the National Development Plans were doing in the post-independent era and that was why they succeeded the way they did,” he said. “Thus, waiting for the budgetary allocation alone is not enough in order to stimulate Private partnership fund into the sector and that was what necessitated the road sector reforms.’’
He said that the reform in the road sector would be exploited to woo Public Private Partnership investment into the sector.
The minister said the SURE-P was a blessing to infrastructure development in Nigeria because it had helped in scaling up most road projects it’s the country since its introduction.
He said that the ministry was able to upscale construction work from the Abuja-Lokoja way from the 18 per cent it met the project to about 72 per cent as at December 2013.
He added that the Benin-Ore road alignment had been fully completed while the Sagamu to Ajebandele road had been awarded for asphalt overlaying through SURE-P funding.
He said that about 10 to 12 billion naira had gone to the road sector and this had helped to award the contract of the construction of the Oweto Bridge in Benue and the second Niger Bridge.
Onolememen said no road project was abandoned or forgotten as the ministry was working with the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to ensure that most roads were put in good shape especially the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene road.