By Favour Nnabugwu
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, disclosed yesterday, that the Federal Government will reintroduce toll gates where revenue generated can be channelled towards sustaining and maintaining quality federal roads. He promised that money generated from the toll gates will be properly accounted for and judiciously put to use.
Fashola, in his maiden press conference at the Ministry of Works in Abuja, also said the former Ministry of Works owes 206 contractors over N2 trillion for which only N13 billion was released to the Ministry out of the N18.132 billion it budgeted for.
In the housing sector, the minister also said that the Federal Government would spend N10 billion to build low income housing estates in each of the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
On toll gates, Fashola said the Federal Government will re-introduce highway tolling to raise additional funds to finance road infrastructure and ensure efficient road maintenance.
His words: “Maintenance would be our watchword. We are setting up a robust maintenance regime to keep our highways in good shape. This shows that tolling is necessary to support government funding. So, it will not be too much if we ask every road user to pay a little to augment government funding for road maintenance.
“It is eminent commonsense for us to find that money. We will use technology; so if you don’t pay cash, you will pay by tokens or tickets and the money is accountable and it will go to the right place. We will manage that fund properly and we will hold those who we put there to account.”
The Minister further said that the Ministry will have to focus on states link roads and roads with the heaviest traffic flow before it will continue with some other ongoing projects.