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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

N’Assembly raises works ministry budget to over N1tn

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The National Assembly has raised budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Works from N657.3bn in the proposed budget to N1.03tn.
This represents N373bn or 56.7 per cent increase from the initial figure in the appropriation bill. It also represents a 65.4 per cent increase from the amount approved in the 2023 budget.

The PUNCH reports that the ministry is responsible for the repairs and maintenance of over 33,000 kilometres of federal government roads across the country.

A copy of the approved budget obtained by our correspondent showed that the increase was due to raising of its capital budget from N617.9bn to N987.3bn.

An analysis of the document also showed that several capital projects were introduced in the approved budget.

The document revealed that N94.83bn was approved for the construction of Lafia road and the dualisation of 9th Mile (Enugu) Otukpo-Makurdi (Keffi Phase Ii) road project, N15bn for the construction of Ota-Idiroko road section one to three, N4bn for construction of Iyin-Ilawe Ekiti road Section one to three, N13.5bn for the rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt road Section two and four.

Also, the government endorsed N22.750bn for the dualisation of the Benin-Ilesha road, N10.1bn for the construction of Malando-Garin-Baka-Ngaski-Wara road in Kebbi State, while N11bn was approved for the construction of Koko-Besse-Zaria-Kala Kala road in Kebbi State.

The dualisation of Aba-Ikot Ekpene road is expected to gulp N3.75bn, N1.21bn will be spent on the repair of the Iganmu bridge and the rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt Dual Carriageway Section will get N2bn.

Others include the dualisation and construction of Kano-Kwanar Dauja Hadejia road at the cost of N10.7bn, N12.3bn for the reconstruction of Amasiri-Uburu-Mpu-Ishiagu road, and N5.1bn for the provision of culverts and drains at flood-prone areas in South-West.

The ministry also got approval of N3.35bn to purchase vehicles for consultants and security supervision.

Nigerians have not enjoyed the best road infrastructure since democracy but the Minister of Works, David Umahi, has on several occasions promised to revolutionise the construction of roads for the benefit of Nigerians.

During the budget defence, Umahi asked the National Assembly to increase the ministry‘s 2024 budget to about N1.5tn to enable it to complete at least 10 selected critical roads and bridges in each of the six geo-political zones of Nigeria. With the figure almost granted, Nigerians expect no excuses from the ministry with regards to good and durable roads.

Umahi, at a meeting last week charged contractors to complete 150km of roads in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory in 2024.

The target excludes palliative work and other special projects embarked upon by the Federal Government.

“Can we have about 150km of road completed in 2024 in each state? What does that mean? If we have five contractors working together in the same state, then 150km divided by five is 30km, so it’s achievable.

“Nigerians will want to see if can we complete 150km in each of the 36 states and the FCT and you will see the total number of roads completed and that will be a good way to start,” he said.

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