The Federal Government has disclosed that inadequate budgetary allocation is hindering execution of road projects across the nation.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said this on Wednesday while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council meeting.
The minister said due to inadequate budgetary allocations in 2016, the government could only reconstruct critical road networks.
He put the liabilities and debts on road projects at N1.5 trillion, noting that the allocation of only N200bn for road projects this year had made the government to prioritise roads used for conveyance of energy needs and food as well as those with high traffic.
Fashola also disclosed that the present administration inherited N2.2 trillion road contracts awarded; while contractors were owed about N1.5 trillion for projects already executed.
He stated: “The point to make is that our ability to intervene is constrained by our budget. You cannot build a road without appropriation and authorisation for it. When we set out last year on assumption of office, I made it very clear what the liabilities that we had were high; we had to deal with contracts valued in the region of about N2trn or N2.2trn that had been awarded before we came. There were debts owed to those contractors, there were liabilities to complete them in the region of about N1.5trn.
“Now, the budget we’ve for the three ministries I super-intend are in the region of N400 plus billion. Over N200bn is dedicated to roads across the country. So, that’s the deficit we have to deal with and in making those choices, we then have to deal not with roads that necessarily bother us, but roads that carry the heaviest traffic.
“First, is to deal with roads that evacuate our energy needs because without energy, the nation will grind to a halt. Those roads evacuate energy from south to north, fuel in particular. Secondly, those roads that evacuate our nourishment and food supply, our millet, tomatoes and yam from north to south. We also have to ensure that transportation business does not die. So, when you’re hearing Lagos-Ibadan, it is not Lagos-Ibadan itself, it is Lagos-Ibadan that’s a critical support to keep the economy of this country going.
“That’s where importers from north or south and the bulk of imported cargo come from: the Apapa and Tincan ports. That’s where fuel is largely discharged for the country from the tank farms in Apapa and discharge to the further most part of the country