The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the new policy of the Federal Ministry of Works on concrete roads.
The House, on Thursday, mandated its Committees on Works, Environment, Finance and Judiciary to investigate the merits and demerits of using cement for road construction.
This resolution was sequel to a motion moved by Khadijah Abba-Ibrahim (APC, Yobe) during plenary.
The Minister of Works, David Umahi, has been at the forefront of pushing the use of cement for the construction of roads, a move that could lead to a shift from the asphalt technology that is common in the country.
The minister explained that given the increased cost of bitumen from N576,000 to N1 million per tonne with attendant consequences on asphalt, contractors may likely increase the cost of road contracts beyond five per cent.
Bitumen is a black mixture of hydrocarbons used for road surfacing and roofing.
Mr Umahi, a former governor of Ebonyi State, has seen strong pushback from contractors due to the cost implication of the changes the minister is recommending.
However, Mr Umahi has insisted that contractors must comply with the changes.
Last week, Mr Umahi issued a 14-day ultimatum to the contractors to adopt the concrete technology.
Moving the motion, Mrs Abba-Ibrahim said the policy was announced without any in-depth studies by the government on the limitation of the technology.
She stated that the technology has significant limitations that could affect its implementation.
The motion said “several studies have revealed that the use of rigid/cement concrete pavements in road construction has significant technical limitations and constraints:
“Worried that the Minister of Works’ new policy on cement concrete pavement adoption without in-depth studies of the comparative advantages/disadvantages with asphalt may contradict technical specifications, potentially leading to contract breaches and potential arbitration and litigations during a challenging economic time.”
The legislator said most of the contractors got the necessary approvals through due process, including “contract agreements that have strict liquidated damages clauses.”
“A due process certificate of “No Objection” was granted by the Bureau of Public Procurement to the Federal Ministry of Works for the construction and rehabilitation of all the federal road projects”
“Contractors submitted a Performance Guarantee of 10 per cent of the contract sum to secure successful project completion,” she added.
The motion was unanimously adopted when it was put to vote by Deputy Speaker Ben Kalu who presided over the session.
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