The Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has explained how the federal government has prioritised highway projects across the country in order of economic importance.
Mr. Fashola appeared before the Senate on Works on Monday to defend his ministry’s budget.
In the 2017 budget proposal, the Ministry has N564.2 billion for the three sectors, out of which works gets N311.5 billion.
It has the highest vote for capital expenditure in the 2017 budget.
Mr. Fashola said the highway projects were grouped into categories in order of priority and importance of the projects.
According to him, the “priority 1” projects are “national priority projects on critical economic routes on the federal road network.”
“These are highly trafficked North-South, East-West routes used for the distribution of goods and services across the country and major river-crossing bridges.
“The sum of N150, 470,553,292, which represents 62.22 per cent, is proposed to execute “national priority 1” projects in 2017.
“Some of the projects are the construction of Second Niger Bridge at Onitsha; construction of the dual carriageway of Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja (Sections I-IV) in FCT/Kogi State; construction of the Kano-Maiduguri dual carriage Road (Sections I-V) in Kano/Bauchi/Yobe/Borno states; and the rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt Dual Carriageway (Sections I-IV) in Enugu/Abia/Rivers states.”
“(Others are) Rehabilitation/reconstruction of the Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan Expressway in Lagos/Oyo states; construction of Loko-Oweto Bridge in Nasarawa/Benue states; reconstruction of outstanding sections of Benin-Ofosu-Ore-Sagamu Road in Edo/Ondo/Ogun states; rehabilitation of Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Road section I: Odukpani-Itu Bridgehead; and rehabilitation of Ilorin-J’ebba-Mokwa Road.”
“National Priority 2”
According to the minister, these are projects along the branch routes from the critical economic routes on the federal road network.
“These roads serve as links between the major routes and agricultural producing hubs, factories and mining deposits for the evacuation of agricultural produce, manufactured goods and raw materials to markets and ports across the country. The sum of N43, 143,299,357, which represents 17.84 per cent, is proposed to execute “National Priority 2” projects in 2017.”
He listed some of the projects as dualisation of Sapele-Ewu Road in Delta/Edo states; dualisation of Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta Road in Lagos/Ogun states; rehabilitation of Hadejia-Nguru-Gashua-Bayamari road in Jigawa/Yobe states; and the rehabilitation of Ilorin-Kabba-Obajana Road in Kwara/Kogi states.
Others are the rehabilitation of Yola-Mubi Road; rehabilitation of Owerri-Umuahia Road in Imo/Abia states; dualisation of Yenagoa Road Junction-Kolo-Otuoke-Bayelsa Palm in Bayelsa State; and the rehabilitation of Damaturu-Biu Road.
National Priority 3
“These projects are specifically targeted at routes leading to the nation’s refineries, petroleum depots, major ports and mineral producing areas in the country to ease the movement of petroleum products and imported goods from the ports and depots to other parts of the country.
“Also, the sum of N25, 508,708,266, which represents 10.55 per cent, was proposed to execute national priority 3 projects in 2017.
“Some of the projects are rehabilitation of Apapa-Oshodi Expressway in Lagos Phase I & II; dualisation of Suleja-Minna Road; construction of Bodo-Bonny Road with a bridge across the Opobo channel in Rivers State; access road to Apapa/Tin Can Port, NNPC Depot (Atlas Cove) to Mile 2; and the construction of Agaie-Katcha-Baro Road,” Mr. Fashola explained.
National Priority 4
Road projects in “key agricultural states producing cash crops like yam, rice, maize, cassava, fruits, etc.” were categorized under “national priority 4” with objective of boosting “the production of these crops and ease their movement to markets. This is to enhance food sufficiency in the country and minimise losses.”
Mr. Fashola disclosed that N8.9 billion, representing 3.68 per cent, was proposed to construct and rehabilitate roads in this category.
Such projects include the rehabilitation of Sokoto-TambuwaI-Jega-Kontagora-Makera in Sokoto/Kebbi states; rehabilitation of Otukpo-9th Mile-Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway in Benue/Enugu states; rehabilitation of Abakaliki-Afikpo Road in Ebonyi State; rehabilitation of Akure-Ondo Road in Ondo State; rehabilitation of Aba-Azumini-Opobo Road (Aba-Azumini section) in Abia State; rehabilitation of Wukari-Mutum Biyu-Jalingo-Numan Road Section I: Wukari-Mutum Biyu Road in Taraba State.
The minister said inadequacy of budgetary votes to sustain annual cash-flow requirements hinders timely completion of projects in Nigeria.