• Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

Onolememen scores Jonathan high on roads projects

Nigeria’s Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, at the weekend in Abuja said many road projects were either abandoned or moving at snail speed due to paucity of funds or technical challenges when President Goodluck assumed Jonathan in 2011.

The Minister who was speaking at the 3rd Ministerial Press Briefing on the achievements of current administration  said before President Jonathan assumed office, travelling on Nigerian roads was a nightmare, as commuters were made to oftentimes stay overnight in transit.

According to him, the Federal Government’s on-going rehabilitation, construction, expansion and maintenance of major arterial highways across the country have brought a new lease of life to citizens and road users.

“From about 4,500km of fair roads in 2011, today more than 25,000km of the 35,000km of federal roads are now in good and motorable condition, with some of the road alignments comparing favourably with roads in the developed parts of the World”, he said.

The minister explained that economic goods were now better distributed through arterial roads, with improved turn-around times that lead to more production activities, thereby catalyzing economic growth and increase in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Speaking further, Onolememen said consequent on this positive turn-around in the road sector, citizens now enjoy better services in road transportation and at reduced fares, and that some of the transport companies such as the Luxury Bus Owners Association have slashed their transport fares in response to the remarkable improvement and expansion of the Federal Road Network.

“The advent of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) in January 2012, following the partial removal of subsidy on the prices of petroleum products, has ensured additional funding of selected projects in the road sector, resulting in enhanced service delivery in the sector.

This has contributed to the remarkable progress witnessed in 2013 on the dualisation of five  key arterial roads across the six geopolitical zones of our country. These are the dualisation of Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja Highway, Kano-Maiduguri Highway, and the reconstruction of Onitsha-Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, Benin-Ore-Shagamu Expressway and Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan Expressway.

He further said that proceeds from SURE-P were also being applied in the construction of the new Loko-Oweto Bridge over River Benue linking Nasarawa and Benue States, and the Second Niger Bridge in Onitsha/Asaba linking Anambra and Delta States.

He said the Ministry of Works under his leadership has continued to make concerted efforts to complete all major on-going road and bridge projects, and scale up maintenance works on federal roads across country to ensure that federal highways become better and safer.

NATHANIEL AKHIGBE