Babatunde Fashola, the minister of works and housing, has disclosed that the outgoing administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will award contracts until the last minute of its stay in office.
The minister was prompted to make the clarification after questions were raised about the administration’s recent appointments and contract awards.
According to him, “People are saying why we are still awarding contracts when we have just a few days to go. But they forgot amongst other things that the term of this administration ends at midnight on May 28 before Bola Tinubu will take over the government and that is why we are still working.
Fashola, who said this on Thursday in Akure, the Ondo State capital during the flag-off ceremony of the dualization and construction of Akure/Ado-Ekiti road, however, said the construction work would cost over N90billion and it would be completed within the space of 24 months.
He said the award and flag-off of the road took so long because of the necessary process required by the new procurement law.
The former governor of Lagos State assured that the financing of the project has been taken care of by NNPC through a policy the Buhari administration med ‘Tax Credit Policy’, and construction work would not stop till completion.
He said; “This road is going to cost over 90 billion naira. We want the road and we are saying that Buhari’s administration is borrowing money, who is now going to give us money to do it? Should we stop this road now and wait for the next government? It is a juvenile conversation.
“They forget that you the people of Nigeria through your representatives have passed a budget for us to implement.
“Some states borrowed money outside the country, still they will pay it back. So this road is not funded by debt, is funded by a policy of Buhari’s called ‘Tax Credit Policy’, where the private sectors invest their tax in advance and it is paid back later. So what it means is that Federal Government has agreed to sort for other revenue to have a road. But that policy is working.
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“I’m here also to tell you that we will be leaving behind sustainable development here whether we are still in the office or not. This road will be built because NNPC through the tax credit has committed to fund it.
“Two days ago, I signed the advance payment guarantee request for the release of the money to the contractor. Now that we have done all the processes, contractors have started moving around to talk to those that will supply them with materials to use for the construction. So, we are constructing this road afresh.
“I want now to appeal to the host communities, especially the state government of Ondo and Ekiti, that we cannot build a road without the right of way, so we need land, it may affect some buildings, shops, farms and others.
“This road really represents the paradox of governance, roads and public debts. First of all, the road does not last forever and once the road reaches the end of its life it would begin to fall apart and there is nothing you can do again, you need to reconstruct it.
“All lies against me that I did not like Ekiti, Ondo states are absolutely nonsense. We are going to dualise this road, reconstruct and redesigned which we have done. But, now it is time to do it.”
In his address, the Minister of State (Transport), Ademola Adegoroye said; “Each week I go to his office, Babatunde Fashola and he briefed me every week with development.
“Akure/Ado-Ekiti road is so important to us. A lot of people live in Ado and work in Akure and vice versa. Our governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu sent me to Abuja. He asked me to do something about Akure/Ado road.”
Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who was represented by Commissioner for Infrastructure, Lands and Housing, Raimi Aminu, urged the residents to give maximum support to the contractors.
While his Ekiti State counterpart, Biodun Oyebanji, represented by the Head of Service, Dele Agbede, described the moment as historic for the people of Ekiti and Ondo States.
BusinessDay reports that the project was awarded to Samchase Nigeria Ltd. and Kopeck Construction Company.