The Hon. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, His Excellency, Babatunde Raji Fashola, (SAN), on Tuesday, assured Nigerians that he is fully committed to the re-positioning of the road sector, adding that his short term strategy is to quickly complete all roads that have progressed to an advanced stage of completion.
Fashola who gave the assurance during his maiden press briefing since his resumption to office in Abuja, said that in tandem with President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise of delivering change, the ministry will ensure the commencement of work on all roads that link the 36 States of the federation.
Fashola reiterated that “good roads and bridges will re-flate and grow our economy, reduce travel time, cost of vehicle maintenance and transportation of people, goods and services, improve the safety of lives and property, which will ultimately improve our security index”
He however stated that the ability to deliver critical road and bridge infrastructure depends on capital spending in 2016 in order to settle debt owed contractors and get them back to work,
According to the new minister, the Works sector presently has 206 contractors handling 206 road projects, covering 6,000km with a contract price of over N2trillion.
He said that the first positive step to take is to change the capital and recurrent ratio of budgeting which is already being addressed by the Ministries of Finance and Budget and National.
He further stated that Nigeria spent less on capital when the nation was earning more from oil and “we are presently being faced with the harsh reality of dwindling oil prices, which necessitates that we must now spend more on infrastructure development, as we earn less from oil”.