Cabinet approves N15.7 billion for roads

By Timothy Choji, Abuja

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President Muhammadu Buhari presiding over the Wednesday's cabinet meeting in Abuja.

The Nigerian cabinet has approved the sum of N3.1 billion for the completion of work on Ibadan-Lagere-Ilesa bye-pass road linking Oyo and Osun States.

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola disclosed this to State House Correspondents at the end of Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.

President Muhamamdu Buhari had presided over the meeting before leaving Abuja for South Africa on a state visit.

Fashola said the cabinet also approved the sum of N12.6 billion as variation for the completion of Suleja-Minna-labata road in Niger State, Central Nigeria.

“Two contracts were approved. The first one is the Ibadan-Lagere-Ilesa, 22 kilometers, the contract was first awarded in 2010, without budgetary funding and the rates have become obsolete so the contractor wants new rates and that has necessitated a revision of the rates by N3.165 billion and that means the old contract price of N6.7 billion has now moved  to N9.8 billion.

“The same is true of the Suleja-Minna-Lambata road, covering a total of 101 kilometers, it was awarded in two phases, the first phase was awarded I believe in 2010, 40 kilometers, and then the second phase covering 61 kilometers, was awarded in March 2015 but they used the 2010 rate. So, the contractor is now saying he cannot continue that way because those rates are unsustainable. So, we recommended that the revised rates be considered and the Federal Executive Council approved that. Now it’s a revision by an addition of N12.6 billion so the contract sum now moves from N23.6 to N36.2 billion,” the Minister explained.

New projects
He stated that the approvals were given in line with governments desire and determination to focus on projects that can be completed rather than just starting new projects.

Fashola said; ”the projects were consistent with the realities of economic rates, market price indices for road inputs like cement iron rods and diesel among others.”

Re-introduction of toll gates
He also announced that plans have reached advance stage for the re-introduction of toll gates across the country, because no law prohibits them from doing so.

“Let me clarify this impression about toll gates; there is no reason why we cannot toll there is no reason. There was a policy of government to abolish toll or as it were, dismantle toll plazas but there is no law that prohibits tolling in Nigeria today.

“We expect to return toll plazas, we have completed their designs of what they will look like, what materials they will be built with, what new considerations must go into them. What we are looking at now and trying to conclude how the back end runs and that is important because we need to limit significantly if not totally, limit cash at the plaza, while ensuring that electronic devises being used do not impede rapid movement,” the Minister stated.

Fashola added that government is working hard to acquire more land in order to establish the width of proposed toll plazas, which he said would likely be 10 lane plazas.

 

Mercy Chukwudiebere