David Umahi, minister of works, has cautioned contractors working on federal roads to avoid increasing the cost of ongoing projects, stating that no variation of price (VOP) on the contract will be accepted.
Umahi disclosed this on Friday while inaugurating the supervisory committees for the reconstruction of the Benin – Warri dual carriageway and the dualization of East–West Road, Port Harcourt – Onne Port junction road in River State.
Umahi, insisting that the ministry will not go beyond the N6trillion set aside for the project completion, charged contractors using asphalt pavement to ensure that their contracts are stable, sustainable and can stand the test of time
“Those contractors using asphalt concrete and have achieved 80 percent completion can go ahead but with no cost variation because I cannot be going to the National Assembly every week asking them for the increment of the contract sum.
“I want to say that road infrastructure is one of the key factors for the revolution of our commerce, education, security and power in this country and Mr President is committed to our road infrastructure, so we are on a mission and we must take back our country.
“Before mobilization fund can be released to any contractor, the contractor must have mobilized 50 per cent of its equipment and personnel to the site. The ministry will respect the rights of contractors and contractors have also to respect the rights of the citizens,” he said.
Speaking further, the minister decried the use of laterite as a base in road construction and directed that henceforth contractors should use lumps, sharp sand and stone bases to form the base before laying concrete or asphalt pavement.
Umahi noted that laterite has a limited load-bearing capacity and is susceptible to erosion and weathering, especially in areas with heavy rainfall. This according to him, can lead to the o degradation of the road surface over time, and challenges.
“We are giving very serious attention to the roads between Benin and Warri. Regarding the road between Eleme and Onne Port, we are mindful of the site conditions of these roads, the water conditions and the boreholes instead of potholes on these roads. No more laterite, contractors are now to use lumps, sharp sand and stone bases in place of laterite.
“We are not at war with the contractor but contractors should not put the public to suffering. Proper daily supervision and documentation of what the contractor is doing is compulsory. They must ensure the new method of construction is followed and maintenance followed too because it is part of the elements of the contract and any offence is punishable.
“The committee must implement the contract agreement with maintenance culture as key. Committee members are to monitor the contractors closely to make sure things are done right. Our contractors can now understand that we are not insisting that things have to change without a reason but that society is demanding sustainability and integrity in their work.
“Road infrastructure is one of the key factors for the revolution of our commerce, education, security and power in this country, and Mr President is committed to our road infrastructure improvement thus, the Ministry is on a mission to uphold the renewed hope agenda of this administration on road infrastructure provision,” he said.