Minister seeks alternative funding for road infrastructure development

Eme Offiong, Calabar

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Nigeria’s Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has identified alternative source of funding as the panacea to road infrastructure development.

Fashola stated that it has become imperative to seek for alternative funding for road projects in the country in vie of the challenges faced in the sector.

According to the Minister, who was represented at the 29th meeting of the National Council on Works in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, southern Nigeria, by the Minister of State, Abubakar Aliyu, said:“The need to look beyond public budgets and the clamour for other funding sources for road projects are recurring decimals in the literature of Nigerian highways development.”

Commenting on the theme of the meeting: ‘Infrastructure as the Pathway to Prosperity’, he urged the participants to explore avenues whereby challenges within the sector would be tackled and the burden of road construction as well as rehabilitation taken off the government.

He pointed out that challenges arising from activities of insurgents, heavy-duty trucks were impacting on the roads.

Fashola said: “The challenge of insurgency in some parts of the country, road users’ abuses like the uncontrollable excesses axle loads by trucks, unauthorized use of federal roads rights-of-way, and many other problems, which are begging for solutions can be explored to create a pathway for prosperity.”

Also speaking, the deputy governor of Cross River, Professor Ivara Esu decried the state of deplorable federal roads such as the Calabar-Uyo and Calabar-Ikom-Benue roads, which he described as unprecedented with adverse socioeconomic effect on the state.

Maintenance 

The deputy governor urged the road maintenance agency to rehabilitate damaged portions as part of measures to avert erosion and alienation of the entire state from the rest of the country.

Esu stated, “federal roads in many parts of Cross River are death traps. The state has been cut off. Federal managers of roads must be up and about and should importantly look at the poor maintenance culture, which contributes to road neglect across the country. 

“Contractors now do very shabby jobs, so that in one year the roads fail; for them to be given another contract for the same road”, urging the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, to be proactive.”

The deputy governor also sued for regular collaboration with the state ministry of works to rehabilitate severely damaged roads so as to engender prosperity.