David Umahi, the minister of works, has said that inadequate disbursement of funds for federal government projects is the reason for poor implementation and abandoned projects across Nigeria.
Umahi, who disclosed this during a press conference in Abuja, explained that Nigeria’s budgetary allocation processes do not encourage contractors to complete federal road projects across the country timely.
According to him, funds disbursed to contractors on an annual basis make road projects linger as, in most cases, the contractor only access little funds to purchase necessary material to carry out their job, adding that delay gives rise to contract variation as inflation affect the original amount agreed for the project.
“When you give a contractor N150 million a year for an N600 million road project, he will pocket it while mobilising to the site without doing anything on the ground. When confronted, he will say he has yet to get the material he requested outside the country as the money was insufficient,” “he said.
Umahi further encouraged the cultivation of cash crops on roads instead of bushes, which, according to him, allowed for increased kidnapping cases.
“Ni” Arians must get value for their taxes; the road is everything; where we have kidnapping is on the spot where roads are wrong, we should remove the bushes and plant cash crops; it is ideal and acceptable, and we should replicate it in all parts of the country. It will remove the kidnappings.”
While reiterating that the construction of concrete roads would not be enforced on projects awarded already, he said contractors would need to give assurance that roads built with asphalt would last up to 30 years even though the concrete roads would last longer.
“We are not stopping asphalt works but it is not possible to be paying the job that we know will not stand for five years. Contractors hide under funny excuse of overloading for road not standing long.”
“Under the renewed hope agenda, all contractors handling road construction by the federal government must sign an indemnity of 30 years for the road contract.”
He added that the ministry would review the operations of the Federal Road Management Agency (FERMA) to ensure that any state intervention would be done with the input of the state government to know the roads with top priority.