By Henry Umoru & Inalegwu Shaibu
ABUJA—Senate Committee on Works has   asked  the Federal Government not to award road contracts to Julius Berger Nigeria Limited and other multinational construction companies unless they take part in government road concession programmes.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ayogu Eze, who gave the directive yesterday during an interface with the Ministry of Works at the 2012 budget defence, lamented that all the multinational construction companies have failed to contribute to the rehabilitation of Nigerian roads despite enjoying high patronage from the Federal Government.

He said: “Despite the patronage multinationals are enjoying from government of the federation, they have maintained studied distance from our development programmes.”

He lamented.

The committee also held that multinational construction companies should be made to take up at least two major roads on concession when a road contract is awarded.

Senator Eze also kicked at the 2012 budget for Works stressing that the poor state of Nigeria roads contributes to poor economic development of the country.

He said, “If we continue the way we are going, there is no way we can move forward in this country; I think federal government should create special fund for the road projects in the country just as the government did in the case of power so that we can move forward.

“If we don’t create a special fund for the road we are just deceiving ourselves, the money created in this year’s budget proposal is just a drop in an ocean, N138 billion for the construction of roads, N6 billion for the Surveyor General and over N30 billion for the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA); you need to convince this committee on how the Ministry will use the money to achieve desirable goals in the 2012 budget”.

Meanwhile, the Minister of works, Architect Mike Onolenmemen painting an unpleasant picture of the state of Nigerian roads lamented that only N75 billion was allocated for completion of on-going projects in the 2012 budget.

He told the committee that N180, 799,815,445 has been allocated to Works in the 2012 fiscal year. N138, 714,051,145 out of the amount is for main ministry, while Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA is to get N32, 530,076,013.

The breakdown of the 2012 budget also include N6,939,436,513 to the office of the Surveyor General; Federal School of Survey, N977019,781;  Council for Registered Engineers of Nigeria, N437,402,119; Surveyor Registration Council of Nigeria, N186,522,432; and Regional Center, N215,400,000.

He further told the Committee of the N138.7 billion allocated to the main ministry, over N51 billion would go for payment for pending certificates, leaving the balance of N75 billion to complete on-going road projects in the country.

“N420 billion is needed annually by the ministry to drive most of its projects, given the agreement reached with contractors each year, so we have to prioritize our projects”, he said.




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