The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has stated that his ministry will not award any new contract for the construction or rehabilitation of federal roads until existing ones are completed.
Mr. Fashola said past administrations in Nigeria awarded contracts for 206 roads at about N2 trillion naira, which were mostly unpaid for.
He was responding to questions from State House correspondents on Wednesday at the end of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council. He spoke on the terrible state of some roads within the Federal Capital and the reason his ministry appears to be more interested in the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Mr. Fashola said the roads went bad at a time when there were resources but the governments of the time refused to fix them.
“What we have done was first to say that we would not award any new road contract,” he said. “We would deal with the over 206 roads that have been awarded but not funded for over three years.”
Mr. Fashola also said because of the limited resources available to his ministry, road projects have to be prioritized.
He said the Lagos-Ibadan expressway is a very important road for the whole country and carries the heaviest traffic.
“Now the budget that we have for the three ministries that I superintend is in the region of N400 plus billion and over 200 billion is dedicated to roads across the country.
“So that is the deficit that we have to deal with and in making those choices we then have to deal not with roads that necessarily border us but roads that carry the heaviest traffic,” he said.
He said attention is being given to roads that have economic significance for the country such as routes for the evacuation of fuel and food produce going to the different parts of the country.
The minister also disclosed that the council approved the purchase of three transformers of 150 MVA to be installed in sub-stations of Shiroro in Niger, Osogbo in Osun and Kumbotso in Kano as requested by the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN.
Mr. Fashola, who did not mention the cost of the transformers, said the purpose of the purchase which overrides the cost implication is to “continue to reinforce, expand and maintain the existing transmission capacity so that as the progress of our incremental power initiative expands and achieves its purpose, transmission company is able to competently deliver the power.”