The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has a lot of work on his table as he is expected to provide infrastructure across the country. With regards to the 2016 much talked about budget, Mr. Fashola has voted 62 percent of the mega Ministry to road projects. He came up with a three-year frame work to utilize the proposed budget for the year, which amounts to N433 billion. 62 percent of the budget, (which is N268 billion), was allotted to Works, N99 billion, an equivalent of 23 percent to Power and N66 billion, representing 15 percent to Housing.
This development was made public last week, while the Minister was defending his Ministry’s budget for 2016 before the Committee on Works at the House of Representatives and Senate. Mr. Fashola broke down the budget, explaining that government is willing to complete the over 200 uncompleted road projects across the country rather than start up new ones, adding that the completion of the projects will be beneficial to the masses and the nation’s economy. He said that some of these projects were left uncompleted because government owed the contractors and if the money is paid, some of them are willing to return to sites.
He also disclosed that the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, had drawn a three year plan with the aim of covering about 6,000 kilometers of roads at the end the of third year, pointing out that each year, a total of 2,000 kilometers of roads will be covered, explaining that the projects are prioritized based on the criteria such as projects with high economic value, those that carry heavy traffic and those that are almost completed. Fashola added that in the first year, a total number of 31 projects will be covered, a total number of 55 projects will be completed in the second year while 44 projects will be attended to in the third year.
According to Fashola, the budget covers the following major projects among other – Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Second Niger Bridge and Murtala Muhammed International Airport road in Lagos. He explained that Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is a major traffic road where bulk of imported cargoes come into the country through Apapa and Tin Can ports to other parts of the nation.
“Food items as well as livestock from the North also come to South-West and other areas through the same route. In view of this, if this road is fixed, it will be for economic interest of the nation, so also the second Niger Bridge that traverses from the South-East to other parts of the country, and just as Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road in Lagos serves as the gate way to Nigeria. With the budget proposal, the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, (FERMA) will have the advantage in providing comprehensive maintenance on federal roads across the six geo-political zones of the country,” he said.