The Federal Government says that it is considering the termination of some abandoned projects worth about N6 trillion inherited from previous successive governments that have no clear source of funding.
This was made known by the Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, who disclosed the figure while briefing State House correspondents after a meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Umahi revealed that President Bola Tinubu has approved the use of concrete technology instead of asphalt for the construction and rehabilitation of roads nationwide, adding that the president had also approved some road construction projects and plans to toll some roads in the country.
He argued that concrete will be more durable and cost-effective than any other alternatives, urging all contractors working in Nigeria to ensure that global best practices are adhered to.
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4 years deadline for road projects
After a meeting with contractors handling projects in the North-east, the minister reiterated that the ministry currently had up to N14 trillion worth of ongoing projects against about 18,000 kilometres of roads, adding that henceforth, contractors are not expected to stay on site for more than 4 years.
Umahi expressed his dissatisfaction at situations where some contracts had been ongoing for 20 years, stressing that it was not good for the contractors for the projects and the clients.
- He said, “We are introducing concrete road technology and some of you are not happy about it. Some are saying it is too expensive, but we have to try the both and see which is better.
- “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 50 years period free of maintenance, we’ll demand for performance bond.
- “A situation and time when roads are built on asphalt and within two to three years the project is back to square one is gone.”
Umahi highlighted the reasons for road failure to include poor workmanship from contractors, importation of adulterated bitumen into the country and the laying of less than appropriate thickness of asphalt.
- He added, “I had recently met with contractors handling road ‘dualisation’ projects and my position on the issue is to take one lane and complete it because of paucity of funds.
“But with the availability of money, they could start the second lane. We can manage with one lane instead of not having anything at all.’’
President in support of concrete technology
The minister explained that Nigerians were suffering as a result of poor workmanship and all manner of cheating within the system, promising that he was in the ministry to solve the perennial problems.
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- He said, “We don’t witness this kind of construction patterns in developed countries. You came from developed countries. so we are going to respect engineering best practices in Nigeria. We will build roads that are going to last.’’
Umahi, who stated that subsequent signing of certificates would be based on their status, advised contractors handling projects in the North-east not to bother reporting him to the president as he is aware of what is happening.
The minister said he was taking instructions directly from the president, who he said is also interested in concrete technology for road construction.
- He said, “He has given me teeth to bite so that Nigerians can enjoy . This will be one of the greatest legacies of the president and other legacies he is bringing, so that the world will know we are here for an assignment.’’