The Minister of Works and former Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi has revealed that an estimated ₦18.6 trillion is what is needed to address the road sector in Nigeria over the next four years.
Umahi shared this information during the budget defence for a supplementary budget of ₦2.177 trillion, which was held at the request of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, chaired by Hon. Abubakar Bichi.
Aside from the sum of ₦300 billion proposed for the Ministry of Works from the ₦2.17 trillion supplementary budget, the Minister appealed for the provision of contingency funds for the Ministry to deal with emergency situations as it pertains to the roads.
Additionally, the Minister reaffirmed their choice to build concrete roads, citing their superior durability and lower cost.
He explained that in order to improve project completion and make emergency repairs on failing road portions, some of the monies taken out of the 2022 supplemental allocation had to be restored, which is why the request for the 2023 supplemental budget was made.
He said the sum of N300 billion proposed for the Ministry of Works is targeted especially at the highway sectors.
This, he said, is to ensure the free flow of traffic on the federal roads network to enhance movement, especially as yuletide approaches as well as tackle the problem of insecurity.
‘On the whole, to address our road sector for the four years, we would be needing about N18.6 trillion and so the National Assembly must have to wear its thinking cap on how we can address seriously our road sector.
‘I also appeal to the National Assembly that the Executive to respect your motions on certain interventions. We must have a contingency fund.
‘When you ask me to go and intervene on certain roads which have collapsed, and I have to liken the situation to a man on life support.
‘The man needs immediate attention. Where there is an emergency the road is cut and the people are suffering, movement is stopped, it needs an emergency. So we appeal for contingency to respect your directives on fixing emergency situations,’ he said.
In his presentation, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, who got N200 billion from the supplementary budget said N104.8 billion is for capital projects while N95.2 billion is for expenditure.
Giving a breakdown, he said, “We had a challenge of Anthrax, we had a disease that has threatened some states and if care is not taken it can wipe out livestock and it can be transferred to humans. It is important that it should be taken care of and we also have trans-boundary migratory pests like locusts. So, we have budgeted N9.1 billion for that purpose.
‘In addition there is the issue of the strategic food reserve. So, an amount of N25.5 billion has been earmarked for this. Also the provision of seeds and seedlings and other agric inputs for each zone of the country to the tune of N11.7 billion per zone.
‘The National Agricultural Growth Scheme earmarked support for this at N25 billion. For the coming rainy season in 2024, we earmarked N11.7 billion per zone for the six zones of the country.’
He stressed the need to provide adequate security for farmers.
On his part, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, who got N100 billion said N3.4 billion was earmarked for security equipment.
He also said the money would be used for the completion of the Abuja rail project among other infrastructure.
‘Of course, there are infrastructure needs which have been abandoned before I came on board and these infrastructures need to be completed now that we have the dry season coming. When I came on board, I had to make some of these contractors like Julius Berger, to go back to work
‘I believe that before we enter the rainy season next year this infrastructure and roads would have been completed. Again, talking about the completion of rehabilitation and take off of the Abuja rail project. You will agree with me that this project that Mr. President takes so important, and which will help in decongesting our traffic situation.
‘I’ve been there as I came on board and Mr. President directed the day the Nigerian Bar Association held their annual conference that he wants to ride on this metro line, at least in his one year in office and which I think with your support we are going to achieve it.
‘The amendment I want to make is this. Yes, it provided for N22 billion. Our problem is the dollar component of the project. You know this project was awarded in Naira and Dollar components.’
‘Right now, the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) is saying that they need their $7 million component. I will plead if it is possible with this N22 billion, if you look at the differentials, if we can provide for the dollar component of $7 million and whatever that is remaining will be the Naira component. This is because we tried to pay them in Naira but they said that the contract was in Dollar and Naira components.