Flooding: FG rolls-out interventions for 41 roads

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Considering the effect of rainfall on major roads in the country, the Federal Government  on Tuesday disclosed plans to roll-out interventions for 41 major roads.
This include the rehabilitation of Benue-Makurdi, South-East and other roads that have worn-off from the impact of flooding.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola made the disclosure at a meeting with the various contractors handling federal government projects across the country in Abuja.
He said;” I will quickly also go to the interventions we have already planned, in addition to major construction works that is going on, we also have rehabilitation works using specific contractors to improve motorability and we would be working on 41 roads across the country and trying to make some remediation for them as a result of what has happened during the rainy seasons.
“We will be intervening across the country including the Benue-Makurdi, South-East and places where the Vice-President has visited as a result of flood. So we are just getting ready to complete our procurement processes and roll-out.”
According to him, the meeting is intended at getting contractors to site even as the country moves towards the end of the year, so as to ease traffic while construction works are ongoing.
He said: “Why we are here is mainly to work together to inform the public, what the public should expect in the last months of the year when traffic is going to be heavy, where people are going to travel while constructions are going on in the various sections.
“What is the brief expectations the public should expect once the rain stops. Starting from the end of September to around the middle of December where your workers go on annual leave and what kind of contingency arrangements would you be making to ensure that operational staff deal with emergencies.”
He also, noted that the FG’s N100billion Sukuk if fully subscribed to, would cover 25 major Nigerian roads.
Sukuk is one of the financial instruments (bonds) used by governments and organisations to raise funds.
However, unlike conventional bonds whose proceeds can be used for a wide variety of purposes including recurrent expenditure, funds realised from a Sukuk issuance can only be deployed to assets such as infrastructure.
Fashola explained that the proposed 25 roads are integral parts of A1 to A4 saying; “if you look at the proposed 25 roads, they are the roads that are integral parts of A1 to A4.
“The A1 is the Lagos to Sokoto highway, A2 is the Warri-Kastina, A3 is Portharcourt-Potiskum, Yobe and A4 is Calabar-Maiduguri. One thing that all these roads share in common is that they originate from our ports and end in the boundary if Sukuk is fully subscribed for we will have 25 major roads we would have some interventions.”
Earlier, the contractors’ stated that all pending projects would be completed if funding is made available.
They also noted that the rainfall season had affected progress of some Federal projects even as they assured that work would resume in during the dry season.
Speaking on the need for funding, the Managing Director, Julius Berger Engr Wolfgang Goetsch said this is vital to effective and timely delivery of projects.
His words: “Construction business is the real economy, we are not traders, we are not bankers, we are not lawyers rather we are economy. We are employing lots of people, we are buying equipment and plants, we are doing investments all for the purpose to serve so that our work can go on, that means every day, if don’t work, we have to spend money because the construction companies have recurrent expenditure like the government.
“A construction company only can do proper work if the funding is there. In addition to funding, we have to manage our resources, you know employing people is a process and also investment. In the past for various reasons which I fully understand, there’s no continuity, this to a construction company, legally, it’s very toxic.
“Lagos-Shagamu road which is of much importance to all of Nigerians for the West, North, South, everybody needs this road was contracted to us in 2014, we started with good funding but along the line, funding issues came up, we had to almost close down, then when the Minister took over last year took over and pushed it, we work day and night, we work 7 days a week….now unfortunately since three months, work as stopped because funding is not there.
“For us funding is like a battery for a car, “he added.