Fashola: Host Communities’ Demand for N10Bn Compensation  Frustrating 2nd Niger Bridge Project

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Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola on Wednesday blamed host  communities for “frustrating government efforts”  by demanding payment for compensation leading to some uncompleted projects across the country.

Fashola who briefed alongside the ministers of information and culture, Lai Mohammed and Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, said this at the second Federal Executive Council meeting in this administration presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari which focused majorly on infrastructure.

Fashola also admitted that budget  funding gaps also worked against completion of roads projects in the country in the last four years. 

The minister was responding to a question on the poor state of roads in the country against the series of approvals given by FEC during the first tenure. 

According to him, not all the over N300 billion budgeted was released to his ministry.

This is even as he added that his office was yet to get funds since his reappointment as minister as there are still paper work processes ongoing. 

Fashola explained that some of the road works going on are based on goodwill, while stressing that there have been criticism against borrowing during the first tenure, he said stated that community support is also needed to facilitate construction of roads projects in the country. 

He gave an instance of over N10 billion already accruing as compensation on the 2nd Niger Bridge. 

According to him, “Getting FEC approvals is one half of the story, but we don’t get all of the cash. Even the local communities are not helping issues 

“As we speak, some people are asking us to pay N10 billion now as compensation for the 2nd Niger bridge

“There is a gap between infrastructure needs and income. People are also complaining that government is borrowing too much”

“We have heard that funds have been released, but we are yet to get anything. I have not received any money since I came to office, this time around”

Speaking further on abandoned projects, Fashola blamed “obsolete rates, under budgeting and under funding” as major factors.

On abandoned 20,000 projects alleged by the National Assembly, Fashola said: I think first of all it is important we all speak the same language. There is a clear distinction between uncompleted and abandoned projects. First of all my ministry does not have 20,000 projects. The right question should be what are we doing about completing projects, one of the things we have done is finding out why projects are not completed. In some cases the rates have become obsolete so the price range has changed, cement price has changed, the change rate has changed, inflation has gone into the quantity it was awarded before it came. 

“So, we are trying to resuscitate some of those projects because we know that the contractors will not go back to work if the pricing is not right.”

The Minister also disclosed that the FEC approved a total of N8.2 billion for roads projects. 

Fashola said two of the approvals were to revise the estimates of cost to enable the contractor continue work.

He said Council approved N519 million revision of contract sum of Oba Nnewi Okigwe Road to cater for change in cost of materials since the project was awarded in 2009. The contract sum was revised from N3.7 to N4.3 billion.

The council also the revised cost of N2.052 billion for 67 kilometers Alasi-Ugep road in Cross River state. The council approved a revision from N9.16 billion to 11.22 billion.

He said Council approved the change of contractor for the Chachangi bridge linking Takum and Wukari in Taraba State and rewarded at the cost of N2.132 billion. 

Council also approved Katsina Ala bridge at the cost of N3.576 billion, which include total bridge repairs, changing of expansion joints, changing of bearings and rehabilitation of the 3.2 kilometers access road at Ugbema junction in Benue State.
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