The President of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu administration has disclosed that the Muhammadu Buhari administration left it with at least ₦14 trillion worth of road projects totaling about 2,604 and spanning 18,000 kilometers for his government.
This disclosure was made by the Minister of Works Dave Umahi who spoke to journalists at the presidential villa in Abuja during the weekend.
He stated: ‘The ministry inherited a total of 2,604 projects, worth N14tn and for 18,000 kilometers of road, that’s what we had.’
He said since assumption of office on August 21, his ministry has already paid N4 trillion of the N14 trillion owed to contractors constructing various road projects nationwide, adding that; ‘Between when we came on board and now, about N4tn has been paid. And so that is a balance of N10tn remaining.’
He noted that while the ministry has identified funding sources to offset N4 trillion of its outstanding debts to contractors, there was still a problem with the N6 trillion balance.
Umahi said some of the road projects which have been delayed for years would be terminated because they were never appropriated for.
He explained: “Now, in this N10tn, we have defined sources that could fund up to N4tn. So, we have a funding gap of about N6tn. That is what is there now.
“We have a number of programs for road development under the previous administration. We inherited all the projects; we have not dropped any of them. But curious to know that some of these projects have lasted for 20 years, some 10 years. In fact, in most cases, they were never appropriated throughout every tenure.
“So I went to seek Mr. President’s nod so that I will be able to terminate some of the projects that have stayed up to 10 years without any defined source of funding.”
He regretted the piecemeal approach to the release of funds for the implementation of federal roads which he said incapacitates contractors.
He said he had urged Tinubu to engage with the National Assembly to priotitise projects.
“Just look at over 2600 projects, 18,000 kilometers of roads, and N14 trillion. That is huge! And the worrisome part of this is that even the ones that are being funded properly, the roads hardly last up to five years,” Umahi lamented.
He noted that the short lifespan of roads necessitated his recent proposal to the President to redesign and construct yet-to-be-completed federal roads using reinforced concrete.
“So I briefed Mr. President on what we are doing by introducing reinforced concrete technology for our road pavements,” he added.
The former Ebonyi State Governor vowed to fight entities poised to frustrate this plan, saying: “I know that there are a lot of fights from contractors, but I’m David, I’m known for fight and I will fight this because I’ve reported myself to Mr. President.