The Minister of Works, David Umahi, has disclosed that President Bola Tinubu’s administration inherited N14 trillion worth of road projects from the previous government of Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the current government has paid N4 trillion to contractors, leaving a balance of N10 trillion.
Umahi, who spoke with reporters at the presidential villa, said the number of road projects inherited from the past government is 2,604, covering 18,000 kilometres of roads. He said some of these projects have lasted for 20 years, some 10 years, and some were never appropriated throughout every tenure.
He said he sought the president’s approval to terminate some of the projects that have stayed up to 10 years without any defined source of funding. He also said he identified sources that could fund up to N4 trillion out of the N10 trillion debt, leaving a funding gap of about N6 trillion.
He said Tinubu should encourage the national assembly to prioritise road projects and allocate adequate funds for them. He lamented that the way appropriation is being done is not healthy to develop the road infrastructure in the country.
He gave an example of a road that may cost N10 billion, but only N150 million is appropriated for it. He said this is just for the contractor to take and put in his pockets, because the average cost of projects that they inherited is about N700 million per kilometre.
He also expressed concern over the quality and durability of the roads, saying that even the ones that are being funded properly hardly last up to five years. He said this is due to poor design, construction and maintenance.