By Favour Nnabugwu
The federal government has set aside N300 billion for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of strategic roads across the country in 2018.
President Muhammadu Buhari announced this known when he presented the 2018 budget proposal at the joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to him, “About N300 billion has been set aside for the construction and rehabilitation of the strategic roads across the country.
“Furthermore, we have also invested a lot of time and effort in identifying alternative means of funding new projects..”
“For example, the recent N100 billion Sukuk Financing will cater specifically for the development of 25 roads across the country.
“We also developed different structures that empower private investors to contribute to the development of roads of significant national importance.
“Already, we are seeing results. For example: The Bonny-Bodo Road is being jointly funded by the Federal Government and Nigeria LNG Limited.
“This project was conceived decades ago but it was abandoned. This Administration restarted the project and when completed, it will enable road transportation access for key communities in the Niger- Delta region,” he added.
The president stated that the Apapa Wharf-Toll Gate Road in Lagos State was also being constructed by private sector investors in exchange for tax credits.
He maintained that the federal government had also continued work on key strategic roads, adding that over 766 kilometres of roads were constructed or rehabilitated across the country in 2017
“For instance, work is at various stages of completion on these strategic roads with immense socio-economic benefits: rehabilitation of Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Birnin-Gwari-Kaduna Road; Dualization of Oyo-Ogbomosho-Ilorin Road and rehabilitation of Gombe-Numan-Yola Road.’’
Others, according to him, are dualization of Kano-Maiduguri Road; rehabilitation of Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega road and Kotangora-Makera road that transverse Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger States; rehabilitation and reconstruction of Enugu-Port-Harcourt road; rehabilitation of Enugu-Onitsha Dual Carriageway Road and rehabilitation of Aleshi-Ugep Road and the Iyamoyun-Ugep Section in Cross River State.
The president also disclosed that his administration had embarked on the rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion of Lagos-Ibadan Dual Carriageway road; construction of Loko-Oweto Bridge over River Benue in Nasarawa and Benue States and the construction Gokanni Bridge along Tegina-Mokwa-Jebba road in Niger State.
The government also announced N35.4 billion to address the housing needs of its workforce under the National Housing Programme in 2018.
The Federal Executive Council, FEC, had on August 30 approved $5.79 billion (about N1.140 trillion) for the construction of the Mambilla hydro plant 45 years after its conception.
President Buhari stated that the N9.8 billion earmarked for the plant included N8.5 billion as counterpart funding.
The president revealed that the 2018 budget estimate also contained N12 billion counterpart funding for earmarked transmission lines and substations as well as N10 billion for the second Niger Bridge project in the South-east region.