The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has disclosed that the works sector received only 53 per cent of the over N300bn appropriated to it 2016.
He made this known at the ongoing 2017 budget defence before the Senate Committee on Works on Monday in Abuja
Fashola said that although the entire ministry was allocated N456. 94bn in the 2016 budget, works section had N301.85bn allocation.
He, however, said that the ministry’s capacity to implement the budget had been directly related to the monies released to it.
He said, “It is not the question of lack of capacity but the question of how much revenue the country earns and how they can give to us to pursue our work.
“We received only 53 per cent on the allocation; there is the possibility that we will get more before the current budget fully winds down.”
Fashola notified the committee that the proposal of the ministry for the return of contractors to work was progressively implemented.
He said, “I doubt that there is any state in the federation where there is no road project going on, whether it is our own direct project or constituency project.”
According to him, the budget is working but more needs to be done in terms of continued funding of infrastructure to recover lost roads.
Earlier, Chairman of the committee, Sen. Kabiru Gaya, had said that budget defence symbolised the commitment of the National Assembly in the pursuit of national economic wellbeing through the road map of key infrastructure, like roads.
While clearing the “padding misconception’’ of the 2016 budget, Gaya said, “the budget was brought to us as a draft. We are to amend whatever is to be amended.
“The budget is a draft, we will do our work. The National Assembly could not have been said to have padded the budget.
“By law, it has constitutional rights to appraise the budget proposal sent to it. It will therefore be a misnomer in the process of considering the budget to be seen as padding.”
He, however, emphasized the importance of road infrastructure to the economic wellbeing of the country and called for the rehabilitation of dilapidated roads across the country.
He said, “This will help to promote national economic growth and prosperity.”
The chairman said that major challenge in the development and maintenance of road infrastructure was inadequate funding.
He said that funding and investment needs of the nation’s key infrastructural deficit could not be considerably met by relying on solely on budget.
He said, “We must explore more resourceful ways of delivering quality service in this sector.
“We must consider alternative sources of funding like public-private partnership and foreign investors to support the budget in the future.”