The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Fashola also stated that FEC approved the procurement of three transformers of 150 MVA to be installed in sub-stations in Shiroro, Oshogbo and Ondo.
Fashola said this after the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja on Wednesday.
According to him, the purpose was to expand the transmission capacity of electricity around the country.
“As you know the Transmission Company of Nigeria is the manager of the transition system which is the transporter of electricity, in that it provides service to the generation company to whom they evacuate power and to the distribution company to whom they deliver power. They needed three transformers of 150 MVA to be installed in sub-stations in Shiroro, Oshogbo and Ondo too.
“We presented that memo to council and it was approved. The purpose is to continue to reinforce, to expand and to maintain the existing transmission capacity so that as the progress of our incremental power initiative expands and achieves it’s purpose, transmission company is able to competently deliver the power”, he said.
State of federal roads
Confronted with questions on the poor state of federal roads especially Lagos/Ibadan and Abuja/Benin roads, Fasola explained that debts owed to contractors had stalled progress. “I think that we need to properly identify the nomenclature of some of these roads. The fact that the roads are in the FCT does not necessarily make them federal roads. Secondly the point also to make is that our ability to intervene is constrained by our budget.
You cannot build a road without appropriation and authorisation for it. When we set out last year on assumption of office, I made it very clear what the liabilities that we had were. We had to deal with contracts valued in the region of about 2trillion or 2.2trillion Naira that had been awarded before we came.
“There were debts owed to those contractors. There were liabilities to complete them in the region of about N1.5trillion. Now the budget that we have for the three ministries that I superintend are in the region of N400 plus billion. Over 200 billion is dedicated to roads across the country. So that is the deficit that we have to deal and in making those choices.
“We then have to deal not with roads that necessarily bother us but roads that carry the heaviest traffic. First, is to deal with roads that evacuate our energy needs because without energy the nation will grind to a halt. Those roads evacuate energy from South to North fuel in particular. Secondly those roads that evacuate our nourishment and food supply our millet, tomatoes and yam from North to South.
We also have to ensure that the transportation business does not die. So when you are hearing Lagos/ Ibadan, it is not Lagos Ibadan itself. It is Lagos/Ibadan as the arterial and critical support to keep the economies of this country going.
“That is where importers from North or South the bulk of imported cargo come from the Apapa and Tincan port. That is where fuel is largely discharged from the country from the tank farms in Apapa and discharged to the furthermost part of the country.
“So we are in situation where we have to make choices and this is how a family makes choices. What gives the greatest good to the possible greatest number with the most limited resources. “What we see on the Lagos/Ibadan is also happening even in the middle belt axis where we are connecting the road that leads to the Abajana road. So, we are limited by resources but trying to ensure that each geo-political zone is not left behind we are also trying to ensure that we are able to keep the economy of the nation going.
“Hopefully next year we would move on to the next phase. We have provided a three year plan to begin to address the road but they are subject to the appropriation we receive and once a road is not appropriated for, you can’t work on. It a violation of the laws of this country and you will be penalised for it and I wont breach the law. So I a limited by what I authorised to do when appropriation comes
The Benin roads
“Those are roads that also form part of our critical network of roads. Let me reiterate the fact that these roads did not go bad yesterday. They deteriorated progressively over the years, at a period where we had resources and did not address the problem.
What we have done was first to say that we would not award any new road contract we would deal with the over 206 roads that have been awarded but not funded for over three years.
“Again, in making those choices what you need to understand is that most federal roads are very long roads. They stretch over hundreds of kilometres, therefore the inherited practice was to break them into sections and award to different contractors. I think the purpose was to avoid single wrist failure or one contractor failure and also to create opportunities.
“What has followed is that each section is budgeted for. On the Benin/Abuja road certain sections were removed from the budget when we presented it. So it is not the entire stretch that is bad. What has happened therefore is that those are budget practices that must change. We tried to change them last year. If we are doing Benin Abuja road give me the total budget of whatever it is. Don’t budget it by section.
“Let me now use my discretion on the same road while contractor one is working if there is a failure in section two I can say go on emergency repair and stabilise the road but I cant do that today because I will be breaching the law.