FG Commends Contractors on Quality Roads, Seeks Alternative Fund Sources
The Federal Government has commended contractors handling various road and housing projects in the South South region for doing a good and quality job.
The Honourable Minister of State I for Power, Works and Housing, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri expressed satisfaction on the quality of road rehabilitation and construction, as well as the construction of mass houses under the present administration, since its inception three years ago. He added that contractors are now fully back to sites with attendant effects on rejuvenating the economy and enhancing human capital development.
Shehuri noted that in tackling infrastructural deficits across the country, there is a dire need for alternative and innovative sources of funding beside the usual annual budgetary allocations, adding that government is presently using the SUKUK (bond) funding option and Public – Private – Partnerships (PPP) to bridge infrastructural gaps in the country.
The Minister stated this in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State during a working tour to the South South geopolitical zone to inspect ongoing projects being embarked upon by the Ministry.
Earlier in his tour, the Minister inspected the Dualisation of Lokoja – Benin road, Section II: Okene – Auchi, Section III: Auchi – Ehor, as well as Section IV: Ehor – Benin City.
He also visited the ongoing Dualisation of Sapele – Ewu road, sections I and II, Sapele – Agbor and Agbor – Ewu, respectively.
The Honourable Minister expressed satisfaction in the level and quality of work being carried out, especially in Bayelsa state inspite of the difficult terrain. He said this while inspecting ongoing construction works on Yenegwe – Okaki – Kolo road and the Dualisation of Yenegwe Road Junction – Kolo – Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm road.
While in Rivers State, the Federal Controller of Works, Engr. J. O. Fadire briefed the Minister on the progress of work on the Rehabilitation of Enugu – Port Harcourt Expressway, Section IV, Aba – Port Harcourt, as well as the 39 – kilometre Bodo – Bonny road with bridges across Afa, Opobo and Nanabie Creeks, the only one to link the Ogoni people with Bonny Island.
Engr. Fadire stated that though there are challenges affecting the pace of work such as the environment, compensation and youth restiveness, he, however, commended the contractor, Messrs Julius Berger (Nig.) Ltd. for the progress made within a short period of time. He further assured the Minister that the project will be delivered as scheduled because funding is not an issue as the major financiers, Messrs NLNG Ltd. is committed.
The Minister visited the construction sites of houses under the National Housing Programme (NHP), the second of its kind in the history of the nation since the President Shagari Low Cost Housing of the early 1980s, in Benin City, Edo State, Asaba, Delta State, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State and Calabar, Cross Rivers State. He also inspected the ongoing construction of the Federal Secretariat in Yenegoa, Bayelsa, where the Federal Controller of Housing in the State assured the Minister that the project will be completed by February, next year.
Hon. Shehuri noted that with the construction of these affordable Mass Housing Estates across the country, the present government is delivering on its campaign promise of bridging the housing deficit in the country, creating jobs and generating wealth.
The Phase I of the NHP projects, according to the Minister, have reached advance stages of completion and will be due for commissioning in the first quarter of next year, stressing that the houses are for all interested illegible Nigerians.
The Minister further disclosed that the procurement processes for the second phase of the Programme will soon be concluded and contracts awarded for its commencement in all the states that have provided the Ministry with land.
During the course of the Tour of Duty, the Honourable Minister also visited the 132 KVA Transmission Substations at Uyo and Calabar in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, respectively, where the present Government installed and commissioned an additional 1 * 60 MVA Transformer each, in April.
While conducting the Minister round the Uyo Facility, the General Manager, Port Harcourt Region of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Engr. Solomon Uyouko lamented that out of the 144 megawatts capacity of the transmission infrastructure, the DisCo utilise a meagre 2% daily, leaving most of the generated and transmitted power idle.
The story is almost similar at the 132 KVA Transmission Substation in Calabar, where the Acting Assistant General Manager, Engr. Nasiru Bello stated that out of the 192 megawatts transmitted daily, the DisCo evacuates between 20 – 30%.
Commenting on the unfortunate state of power distribution infrastructure in the country, Hon. Shehuri said the present scenario is unacceptable, while admonishing the DisCos to up their game or pave way for those with requisite capacities. He further urged Nigerians to start blaming the DisCos for lack of electricity, not the Federal Government.