‘Tell them not to fix my roads again if they’re going to claim compensation- FG TO STATES

Gbeleyi Abayomi

The Federal Government has warned states goverment to desist from fixing federal roads if they will seek compesation. this is as a result of the huge amount requested by state governors for federal roads in their domains.

The Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola, made this statement at a two-day interactive session with the Francis Uduyok-headed Ad Hoc Committee on Abandoned Federal Government Projects (Works) from 1999 till date.

“What has happened to states; that’s another thing. The states submitted a bill of almost N1 Trillion when President Buhari was elected. He asked us to work out what was their entitlement and all of that.

“Ultimately, the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) certified about N454 billion. I don’t remember the exact amount now, except for two states. I think Cross River… There’s another state that didn’t have the documents at the time…

“But the decision to pay those inherited debts, including the ones I contracted as governor of Lagos, was with the caveat that I should tell the governors to leave Federal roads alone. Those were the directives. I was not the one that took the decision.

“He said, ‘Tell them not to fix my roads again if they’re going to claim compensation. If you want to fix it and not ask for compensation, send me what you want to do. But if you want compensation, go and mind your business while I mind my business. This is because I have inherited enough debts.’”

Accoding to the former governor ,he said Federal roads constituted about 18 per cent of the national road network, covering about 200,000 kilometres.

He said the remaining 16 per cent belonged to the states and 64 per cent to the 774 local government areas.

The minister, however, explained that the number of inherited debts was more than the budget of the ministry. “So, that’s the reality,” he said.

On the complaint by the National Assembly that the ministry was overstretching itself by handling 472 road projects at once, mr fashola said that members of the NANS were also part of the problem with their incessant demands over number of projects in the ministry and conversely, continuous budget cuts were responsible for the abandoned projects.

Stating futher , The minister said there must be a stop to new projects to allow for the completion of old projects while calling for consensus and sacrifice for development “because our money is not enough for what we want to build”.

To solve the cash flow problem, Fashola said the ministry was looking towards raising capital from the organised private sector (OPS), such as SUKUK and Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund.

According to him, the SUKUK fund was targeted at about 28 roads out of 472 federal road projects.

This, he said, was initiated by the Buhari administration to target some important projects, including the Second Niger Bridge, East-West road, Lagos-Ibadan-Abuja-Kano rail projects and the Mambilla Power Project.

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