The Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola has claimed that Nigeria roads are not as bad as they are reported to be, Concise News understands.
Fashola made this statement after the Federal Executive Council meeting where the sum of N58.4 billion was endorsed for the construction of Bida-Sachi-Nupeko road and the Nupeko-Patigi Bridge across River Niger, linking Nupeko and Patigi in Niger and Kwara States.
While answering question on why the roads are still in poor states despite huge amount of approvals, Fashola said: “The roads are not as bad as they are often portrayed. I know that this is going to be your headline, but the roads are not that bad”.
According to him, poor funding has been a barrier to completion of most road projects.
He said: “When I come here to announce that a particular amount was approved for a contract that doesn’t mean the amount has been paid contrary to what you suggest.”
“You are mindful also that minister of finance, different arms of government are escalating the fiscal challenges we face as a nation in trying to fund the budget.”
“You must also be aware that between awarding a contract and also mobilizing to site there is a distance. First of all we have to have an agreement that is the relationship between the ministry of works or any other ministry and the ministry of justice, then there is a role that banks play, they have to give guarantee.”
“Building materials – rocks, laterite, quarry, iron rode have to be ordered, construction companies don’t keep them,” the former governor said.
“All of these are the things that go on. So the point that I am making to you is that there is a distance between approval, implementation, actual construction and the result.
Fashola also stated that some South East and South Southern parts are high table water area that may be difficult to construct in rainy season“
“These problems are not as pronounced now in January and February, the reason is that, that is the dry season of the year.
“We also want this season to quickly end so that we can go back to work during the dry weather.” he said
The minister said: “You know that we have the ember months preparation, the team has already started work we would be working with law enforcement, we would be working with FRSC and we would be working with our contractors.
“The plan is that, in places where they have not yet constructed, they should make palliative so that the heavy traffic movement during the end of the year is manageable and reduce the inconvenience of our commuters.”
“You must understand also that on every road where construction is going on it’s a construction site. So help us manage the understanding of the public that you can’t drive through a construction site at normal speed. ”
“The inconvenience is pronounced also by way that we don’t control weather and if we don’t have rain fall in one year it will also affect food as well.”
“Let me also say that today in council my colleague in transportation Rt. Hon Rotimi Amaechi announced something we expect to benefit from those initiatives on some critical routes during the next few weeks that will bring the relief to our roads network as those rail service come on stream.
Fashola further expressed hope that all of the roads problems will become history within a short space of time.