24 December 2012

Nigeria Needs N500bn to Fix Ailing Roads - Onolememen

A whopping N500 billion would be required annually for the next four years to fix Nigerian ailing roads and bring them to sync with road infrastructure development in other thriving nations in the world. This was disclosed recently by the Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen.

Onolememen who is an Architect, told the House of Representatives' Committee on Works that the average annual budget of about N100 billion for road development is grossly inadequate for the nation's 35,000 kilometre of Federal roads. He regretted that budget provisions for the road sector are not fully released, adding that in 2012, only N110 billion was released out of a total budgetary provision of N143 billion.

The Minister who spoke on the "Need to Address the Near Total Collapse of Federal Roads Across the Country" at the public hearing, recommended alternative ways of funding highway infrastructure by the Federal Government.

These include: adoption of annuity contracts for key arterial routes; borrowing from multilateral agencies and Pension Fund for the key highway infrastructure; floating of Road Bonds for highway projects and viability gap funding. The minister also canvassed the implementation of the five percent fuel surcharges; user-related charges and conventional Public Private Partnership finance for road infrastructure.

Onolememen gave details of efforts to reinvigorate and make the management of the nation's federal roads and on-going projects more effective. They include restructuring of the two highways departments into twelve departments, the decentralization of the management of the nation's existing road networks and the development of the recovery of new and deteriorated routes.

The Minister further expatiated on efforts to improve critical routes on federal roads network which are the Shagamu-Ore-Benin dual carriageway, Onitsha-Enugu dual carriageway, Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway, Lagos-Ibadan dual Carriageway, dualisation of Abuja-Lokoja-Benin Road, Dualisation of Kano-Maiduguri Road and the construction of Loko-Oweto Bridge.

He stated that a Transaction Advisor has been commissioned for the 2nd Niger Bridge under the Public Private Partnership model which is expected to culminate in the award of the concession for the bridge by early 2013.

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