Works on the Suleja-Minna road and 15 other Federal road projects in Niger State may be grounded due to the paucity of funds.
The Federal Highway, which was first awarded in 2010 for the first phase and 2015 for the second phase, will still require N32 billion to be completed.
Although the construction firm handling the project, Salini Nigeria Limited, has assured that the road would be completed by 2023, it raised concern over inadequate funding, which it said impeded the speed of work.
A breakdown of the statistics issued by the firm’s Project Manager, Mr. Piero Canpanella, showed that out of the N46,184,599,922.50 contract total sums, the company has only received N14,283,722,374.22, representing 30.93 percent.
Another major constraint on the project is the menace of tanker drivers who park indiscriminately on the right of way of the project, making it almost impossible for work to go on.
This prompted the Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola, during an inspection tour of the projects, to issue a five-day ultimatum to the truck drivers to vacate the road or face severe penalties.
Other ongoing projects threatened by the paucity of funds include the Agaie-Katcha-Baro road, Jeba-Mokwa-Bokani road, New Bussa-Wawa-Kaiama road, and the Bida-Lapai-Lambata road.
The firm handling the Jeba-Mokwa-Bokani said it had received only N200 million since it mobilised to site.
It said the money was used to pay compensation for land and other property on the right of way.
Fashola expressed satisfaction at the rate of work and the commitment of the companies, saying they had shown sufficient capacity, despite working under a tight financial condition.
He said: “The complaint about funding is already out there in the public space. So, when you hear the government trying to raise money or borrow money, it is important that you take the message to Nigerians.
“The concerns of Nigerians about borrowing and national debt are legitimate concerns, but it is also important to let them know that those concerns must be balanced against what they are asking for. They are asking for infrastructure and if the borrowing is for infrastructure in a way that the money is used to deliver roads, I believe that the concerns must be assuaged.”
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