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FG to terminate abandoned road projects

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By Abraham Adekunle

Affected roads inherited from previous admins have no clear funding sources.

The Federal Government of Nigeria is contemplating the termination of several abandoned projects valued at N6 trillion, which were inherited from previous successive governments that have no clear source of funding. It may terminate the projects that have lasted for 10 to 20 years. Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, disclosed this while briefing state house correspondents after meeting President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Umahi added that the president has approved the use of concrete technology instead of asphalt for the construction and rehabilitation of roads nationwide.

Tinubu had approved some road construction projects and plans to toll some roads in the country. According to him, concrete technology would offer greater durability and cost-effectiveness compared to other alternatives. He urged all contractors operating in Nigeria to uphold global best practices in their projects. Following a meeting with contractors responsible for projects in the North-East region, he reiterated that the ministry currently oversees ₦14 trillion worth of ongoing projects, covering 18,000 kilometers of roads.

Contractors should now complete their work within four years.

He further emphasized that going forward contractors should complete their work within a maximum of four years and should not exceed this timeline while being on-site. Umahi expressed his dissatisfaction with the prolonged duration of certain contracts, some of which had been ongoing for up to 20 years. He stressed that this extended timeline was detrimental to both the contractors and the clients involved in these projects. However, he said that some contractors were not happy about the introduction of concrete road technology.

Instead, he said both options have to be tried to see which is better regardless of cost. “In any case, any contractor with an ongoing project that is not willing to cooperate with us for a redesign with concrete road technology, with a 50-year period free of maintenance, we’ll demand for a performance bond,” he noted. He said that the time when roads were built on asphalt and within two to three years, the project upgrade is gone. He identified several factors contributing to road failures, including substandard workmanship by contractors, the importation of low-quality bitumen into the country, and the application of inadequate asphalt thickness during construction.

No source of funding for the majority of the projects.

Further, the government said that it would engage the members of the National Assembly to prioritize road projects to end unhealthy appropriation of road infrastructure. Umahi also made known that the Federal Ministry of Works under the current administration inherited a total number of 2,604 projects worth ₦14 trillion. He added that between the period of his assumption office as the Minister of Works to now, a sum of ₦4 trillion has been paid while outstanding of ₦10 trillion is remaining.

Continuing on, he also revealed that the government has defined sources that could fund the balance up to ₦4 trillion. This leaves a funding gap of ₦6 trillion. While explaining that the previous governments had a lot of programs for road development, some of which have lasted for two decades, Umahi said that some of the projects were never appropriated through the tenure of successive governments, so consultation is being made with the president to terminate some of the projects.

Minister orders contractors to build 10-year durable roads.

Meanwhile, the minister has ordered all road contractors to build roads that will last up to ten years. He gave the order when he met with all contractors handling road dualization projects and all zonal Directors of the Ministry, at the Ministry’s Headquarters in Abuja. He urged all contractors that have built roads that cannot last up to ten years to write to the Ministry to either stop work or rebuild the road to meet the ten-year standard. This is in line with the current concrete technology, which is more durable.

Related Link

Federal Ministry of Works and Housing: Website

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