Mr. Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Works and Housing, disclosed that the Federal Government would carefully choose projects to be executed in the 2021 budget rather than commencing new ones. This was as a result of the cumbersome unpaid certificates of over N392 billion.
Fashola made this known at the 2021 budget defense of his ministry before the House of Representatives Committee on Works. The minister emphasized that the budget would focus on road projects, especially those on routes A1-A9. He stated that ‘given the wide disparity between the liabilities in unpaid certificates in the total sum of N 392, 019, 827, 093.87 and the budgetary provisions over the years, it has become imperative that the ministry prioritized its 2021 capital proposals.’
‘This is being done in order to make an appreciable impact within the period of 2021 to 2023, which can be physically experienced by road users. The focus of the 2021 budget proposal of the ministry remains the completion of some priority road projects, especially those on routes A1- A9.’
The minister further opined that President Muhammadu Buhari has emphasized the need to focus on the completion of projects. As a result, the ministry will prioritize 18 roads and bridges that have reached some level of completion and will be within a period of 12 to 15 months by December 2021. The prioritized projects include roads and bridges that lead to ports and major agricultural hubs across the six geo-political zones. The road projects will also concentrate on roads that have attained 70 percent completion.
The minister also disclosed to the committee that his ministry had classified the 711 highway project presently being handled in the six geo-political zones of the country based on the available funding mechanism.
The funding mechanisms include the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), highway projects financed with Sovereign Sukuk Fund, and those financed under tax credit and others from multilateral loans. Highlighting this development, Fashola said,
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‘The ministry has selected two roads and a bridge per zone for enhanced funding in the 2021 budget to achieve appreciable progress on the projects. Also targeted for adequate funding is the Federal Government counterpart fund for the projects financed by the China Exim Bank.’
‘The major challenge to the ministry’s efforts towards the timely completion of projects is inadequate budgetary provision and releases for projects to sustain annual cash flow requirement levels,’ the minister added.
Photo Credit: Punch Newspapers