Nigeria: 2022 Budget - Reps Panel Demands Extra N500 Billion for Rehabilitation of Nigerian Roads

14 October 2021

About N240 billion was allocated for road infrastructure in the budget even though there are N640 billion outstanding certificates to contractors.

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Works, Abubakar Kabir (APC, Kano), has described the allocation to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing as "inadequate."

N450,02 billion is proposed as capital expenditure for the ministry, N15,05 billion for personnel costs, and N16.5 billion for overheads.

The lawmaker, while debating the 2022 appropriation bill on Wednesday, said about N240 billion was allocated for road infrastructure under the Ministry of Works and Housing budget "even though there are N640 billion outstanding certificates to contractors".

He noted that if allocation to the ministry of works and housing is not reviewed upward, the government will not have funds left after settling outstanding obligations.

Mr Kabir disclosed that the government will need N7 trillion to bridge the gap in the road infrastructure.

"Mr Speaker, I observed something under the Federal Ministry of Works, the allocation in the Ministry of Works is inadequate. I realised only N280 billion is allocated in the 2022 budget and currently we have about N640 billion certificates due to contractors.

"So if we apply N280 billion against N640 billion for our outstanding certificates, that means in 2022 there is nothing we can see in any road infrastructure such as bridges and construction of roads.

"Of course the president has done very well in terms of initiation of SUKUK, NSIA, HDMI, they are doing very well. But honestly, we need more funding, at least an additional of N500 billion for massive development in road infrastructure," he said.

Furthermore, the lawmaker said "roads are suffering from the inadequate budgetary provision. For example, the Lagos - Badagry expressway is a Trans-West African Coastal Highway that connects Lagos, Nigeria with Dakar, Senegal through the Benin Republic and Ghana. Only Nigeria's leg of this international highway is in a bad state. It is a shame we have not been able to finish this road.

"The Enugu - Onitsha Road awarded in 2019 at about N32 billion is only at 19% completion, and the total amount certified to date is about N5 billion, while the 2022 budgetary provision is less than N300 million."

Healthcare

Haruna Mshellia (APC, Borno) also made a strong case for the budget to the healthcare sector to be increased.

The lawmaker faulted the proposed allocation to the sector, and called for a minimum of 10 per cent of the budget to go healthcare.

"When we had the pandemic last year, we discovered that the health system was very weak. I thought we would have learnt our lesson. Look at the budget before us, you will discover that health has only 2.7%," the lawmaker argued.

The debate into the general principle of the bill will continue on Thursday.

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