The Federal Government declared yesterday that it has awarded contracts for the construction, reconstruction and rehabilitations of 67 highway projects across the country in the contract sum of N224, 496,653,183.61 in the last one year.
In addition, the contract for the reconstruction of Benin Ofosu Dual carriageway was also approved in the sum of N16, 676,586,746.82, to complete reconstruction of additional 50km dual carriageway from the original 25 km.
Minister of Works, Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Mohammed Hassan Lawal who disclosed this at the 2009 Ministerial Press briefing to showcase the activities of the minister during the period under review, said there was improvement in funding of the roads projects in the 2009 appropriation, which according to him, â€œled to improved performance on many projects.â€
On the 2nd Niger Bridge in Onitsha, Anambra State,Â Lawal urged the public to discountenance the speculation that the contract for the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge had been awarded.
He described as subterfuge and false the claimed by the immediate past administration of the President Olusegun Obasanjo that it has awarded the contract, saying there was no truth in the claim.
On the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), he said the agency has awarded road maintenance contracts to the tune of N22.1 billion in 2009.He gave the breakdown of the contracts to include 73 major maintenance roads contracts, 5 special repairs and limited engineering design contracts.
Lawal who said almost all the contracts are in progress, with the end of the raining season, put the Internally Generated Revenue of the agency for the 2009 fiscal year at N203, 912, 600.00.
On housing, he said, a total of N994, 450,000.00 has been proposed for appropriation in 2010 to execute vital projects in the Lands, and Urban Department, the Division of Urban and regional Development.
Lawal, who noted that a total of 16 roads out of the 67 are expected to be completed in 2010, added that, â€œthe thrust of the 2010 budget of the ministry is to adequately fund the on-going projects and maintain the funding in the subsequent years so that they can be delivered on scheduled.â€He said, â€œThe momentum will be maintained in the subsequent years so that the federal roads network will be restored to good condition in the long term.â€
The minister noted that the 2010 federal highways budget has been arranged into programmes in order of priority, adding that, â€œ 34 on-going projects above 50% completion are expected to be completed in 2009/2010 while 19 other projects below 50% completion are expected to be completed in 2010/2011.
Lawal regretted that roads projects awarded under the Presidential Initiative Projects (PIPs) had been under funded from 2007 and 2009, and that â€œkey projects under PIPs like the dualisation of Kano-Maiduguri and Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja have not been adequately funded since awarded in 2006.â€
He said lack of adequate funding has hampered the timely completion of the Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja road projects, which the completion period handed to the contractors handling them expired by April last year.