The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has called for a stronger collaboration with the National Assembly for the completion of all on-going projects, pointing out that there was no abandoned project in the sector.
Speaking during an interactive session with the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on abandoned Federal Government’s Projects (Works) from 1999 till date, the Minister said that one of the mandates of President was to complete all on-going projects inherited from the previous administrations.
He stated, “It is the government policy to ensure that we complete as many projects as possible. Unlike in the past, this government has focused on completing on-going projects.”
Fashola said: “No project has been abandoned, but we have some projects where works is delayed due to contractors having issues with the local communities as well as payment of outstanding debt.”
He also noted security, contracts review cost due to time lapse and weather as some of the factor responsible for the delay in the completion of on-going projects.
On funding, he disclosed that the Ministry got only N18bn when he first assumed office in 2015 which was not enough to complete one major road in Nigeria.“Now there is a distinction, we have increased the budget to roughly about N300bn, but we still can’t fund the N300bn,”he said.
Accordingly, Fashola therefore called for adequate budget appropriation, releases and collaboration with the National Assembly in the areas of funding and prioritization of projects for implementation.
“Our revenue is not growing with the same size as our projects, so we need to prioritize our projects by laying emphasis on the A1- A4 project that would be of benefits to our people,” he said.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, Honourable Francis Uduyok stated that the essence of the interaction was not to witch-hunt any ministry or person but to investigate Federal Government abandoned project from 1999 till date.
He also explained that they were to evaluate and determine the cost of completion of the on-going project, make appropriate recommendations for their completion in the annual budgets, adding that they were also to access the viability of the project and their benefits to Nigerians.
The Chairman commended the Minister for his elaborate presentation to the Committee.
The Minister of State for Works and Housing, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu and some Directors of the Ministry were at the interactive session with Fashola.