Fashola Flags Off N90 Billion Akure-Ado-Ekiti Highway: Defends Buhari’s Award of Contracts Till Last Minute
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said that the Federal government will not stop awarding contracts and borrowing money until the end of the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari, who will hand over power to Bola Tinubu on May 29, 2023.
Fashola made this statement on Thursday in Akure, Ondo State, during the flag off of the N90 billion project to dualise the 49km Akure/Ado-Ekiti highway, which has been in a bad state for years.
He said that those who are criticising the government for awarding contracts and borrowing money with few days to go are ignorant of the constitutional and budgetary provisions that allow the government to do so.
He said, “Buhari can award contracts till the last minute. So we will work till the last minute. Those criticising us are ignoramus.
“Some people are saying that why are we still awarding contracts with few days to go, but they have forgotten that tenure of this present administration ends at midnight of 28th May 2023 at 11.59 pm and when it is 12 am, Bola Tinubu takes over the government and that is why we are still working.
“They forget that you the people of Nigeria through your representatives have passed a budget for us to implement.
“Some people are still saying why are they borrowing a few days to their expiration, it’s because we don’t have enough money and people want infrastructure. If you don’t want borrowing that means the government will increase your taxes because that is another way to pay the deficits and that is how it is done in any part of the world.
“So this road is going to cost over a 90billion naira, we want the road and we are saying that Buhari’s administration is borrowing money, who is now going to give us money to do it? Some states are borrowing money outside the country, still, they will pay it back.
“So this road is not funded by debt, is funded by a policy of Buhari’s called ‘Tax Credit Policy’, where the private sectors invest their tax in advance and it is paid back later. So what it means is that Federal Government has agreed to sort for other revenue to have a road. But that policy is working.
“I’m also here to tell you that we will be leaving behind sustainable development here whether we are still in the office or not. This road will be built because NNPC through the tax credit has committed to fund it.”
Fashola explained that the road project would be completed in 24 months and would boost the economy and security of Ondo and Ekiti states.
He also said that the delay in starting the project was due to the design and agreement processes that had to be followed before commencing work.
He said, “We are going to dualise and reconstruct this road. In the road construction, the design of the road would come first and that caused the delay. It has to follow a process.
“The contractor has to sign an agreement until all that is done, the project can’t start. The road has to be excavated because it is starting afresh.
The Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, who was represented by his Commissioner for Lands and Infrastructure, Mr. Raimi Aminu, commended Fashola for flagging off the project and urged the people of the two states to cooperate with the contractor.
The Ekiti State counterpart, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, represented by Mr Dele Agbede, also expressed his appreciation for the project and said it would improve the economy of the two states.
The Minister of State for Transport, Mr. Ademola Adegoroye, said the road was important for the movement and security of the people of Ondo and Ekiti states.
He said, “The road is important to our people, many people live in Akure and work in Ado, and the road would ease the movement of the people. It will improve the economy of the two states, it would ease the movement of the people.”