SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Wednesday listed underfunding of his Ministry as a major hindrance to the delivery of infrastructure, especially road’s.
Briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the minister pointed out that those mitigating factors needed to be squarely addressed.
Fasola also blamed host communities for “frustrating government efforts” by demanding compensation, saying that people should be ready to make reasonable sacrifices if they really needed the infrastructure.
The Minister, while responding to questions on the poor state of roads, as well as the large number of abandoned projects dotting Nigeria’s landscape, said “non-release of budgetary allocations and unreasonable compensation demands by host communities “ were some of the key challenges faced by his Ministry in efforts to fix the deplorable roads across the country.
Fashola had earlier announced FEC approvals for upward variation of contract costs for the rehabilitation and construction of some roads and bridges in Anambra, Kano and Benue States.
“We have heard that funds have been released, but we are yet to get anything. I have not received any money since I came to office, this time around,” he said.
Speaking further on abandoned projects, Fasola blamed “obsolete rates, under budgeting and underfunding” as major factors
According to him, “Getting FEC approvals is one half of the story, but we don’t get all of the cash . Even the local communities are not helping issues . As we speak, some people are asking us to pay N10b now, as compensation for the 2nd Niger bridge. There is a gap between infrastructure needs and income. People are also complaining that government is borrowing too much”.
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