Road Infrastructure, Catalyst for Nigeria’s National Development – Fashola

By Mohammed Mohammed

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, has stated that road infrastructure promotes the nation’s economic, social and environmental development which has necessitated increased investment in road infrastructure by President Muhammadu Buhari Administration.

The Minister made the disclosure while delivering his keynote address at the National Council of Works meeting at Bristol Palace Hotel in Kano, Kano State with the theme, “Infrastructure,The Season of Completion.”

Fashola, reiterated that the theme of this year’s council is timely as it provides the opportunity for the Council to put policy framework that would create enabling environment to complete several road projects initiated by his administration as he completes his second tenure in 2023.

The theme, he added is timely as it provides the opportunity for the Council to put policy framework that would create enabling environment to complete several road projects initiated by his administration as he completes his second tenure in 2023.

It is therefore pertinent to note that the effects of road infrastructure on economic development, productivity and growth cannot be over -emphasized due to its impact at National, State and Local government levels,” he said.

The Minister disclosed that the success of the Nigerian government in providing road infrastructure will not be measured by the amount of funds invested but by the extent to which road infrastructure contributes to the nation’s economic, social, and environmental goals.
Fashola noted that road infrastructure investment should be viewed as a means to an end and not an end itself.

“It is important to note the increased investments in road infrastructure which is evident by the number of completed roads and the need to manage such investments sustainably.

He revealed that the anticipated benefits of the investments in the road sector cannot be achieved without timely completion of the road projects as the theme of this year’s Council on Works reflects.

He noted that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari awarded several new road projects in addition to the inherited ones of which many have been completed and commissioned across the six Geo-Political Zones of the Federation while others are yet to be completed.

Fashola disclosed that the investments of the Federal Government in road transport infrastructure has continued to impact positively on communities across the country as President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned the first phase of roads in the following locations: Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega-Kontagora-Makera Road, the Vandeikya- Obudu Cattle Ranch Road, the Nnewe-Oduma Road, the Kano- Maiduguri Road Section III (Azare-Potiskum) and the Kano-Maiduguri Road, Section II (Shuwarin-Azare) connecting Jigawa and Bauchi States in the last quarter of 2021.

“The Federal Government also commissioned the second phase of road projects in 2022 which include: Efon-Alaaye Erinmo – Iwaraja Road in Ekiti and Osun States; Isoko Ring Road in Delta State, Hadejia – Nguru Road Phase II, Kirikasama – Nguru in Jigawa State; Gombe – Numan – Yola Road Phase II (Gombe – Kaltungo) in Gombe State; Nguru – Gashua – Bayamari Road Sections I & II, Phases I & II in Yobe State; and Lafia – Obi – Awe – Tunga Road in Nasarawa State,” he said.

The Minister noted that significant progress was recorded in road development in the year under review in line with the Ministerial Mandates set for the Ministry through the execution of many roads projects spanning over 13,000km of roads and bridges nationwide and urged states and other stakeholders to compliment the efforts of the Federal Government in the development of road infrastructure in Nigeria.
He urged that we must maintain the infrastructure we build to preserve their live span and get the best value for the money spent on them.

He highlighted alternative funding options initiated by the present administration
to tackle critical roads across the nation apart from the ministry’s budgetary allocation such as:
Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund
SUKUK fund
Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme (RITCS)
Multi-lateral loans/grants
Collaboration with other Government Agencies e.g The North East-Development Commission.

He urged the delegates to contribute meaningfully during the Council deliberations bearing in mind that their recommendations will have far reaching impact on Nation building that will help the highways to become safer and more comfortable for all and serve as means of sustained economic growth and development of our nation.

He also noted that the nation’s economy will be revamped and sustained through continuous and deliberate actions of government at all levels in completing all on-going projects.

He expressed his heart felt gratitude to the Kano State Government for accepting to play host of this year’s National Council on Works comprising all other states and other stakeholders, he thanked the governor immensely for that.

During his opening address at the Council meeting, the Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje thanked the Federal Government for the provision of various intervention infrastructure projects across the state looking forward for more of such interventions such as: The replacement of road intersections with flyovers particularly at various junctions connecting the ongoing Western Bypass Road and other road and housing infrastructure in the state.

Ganduje, noted that before the coming into power of the present administration, many Federal highway projects in the state were abandoned, but now they are receiving commendable attention from the Federal Government.

He thanked the Minister for accepting to host the Council meeting in Kano and assured all delegates maximum security and safety during their stay in Kano State.

While delivering his address, the Chairman House Committee on Works, Mr. Abdulahi Kabir Abubakar stated that this year’s theme “Infrastructure, the Season of Completion” is suitable and well timed because this is indeed a season of projects completion and commissioning in the life of this administration as it is determined to complete as many projects as possible, the projects it inherited and the projects it initiated are highly commendable.

He commended the administration for introducing many interventions such as:SUKUK, Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI) and the TAX CREDIT SCHEME to compliment the Ministry’s budget in providing funds to develop over 1000 contracts covering over 13,000km of roads across the nation.

Abubakar appealed to state governments, private organizations and government agencies to support the federal government in the area of compensation to local communities because delay by state governors to compensate the local communities for the Right of Way delays speedy completion of road projects.

The Kano State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructural Development, Engr. Idris Wada Saleh welcomed the delegates to the 28th Meeting of the National Council on Works and expressed gratitude to the Honurable Minister of Works and Housing, His Excellency, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN and His Excellency, The Executive Governor of Kano State for accepting to host this year’s Council on Works and providing the enabling environment for the event in the beautiful city of Kano “The center of Commerce” and wished all delegates fruitful deliberation and a peaceful stay .

During his closing remarks, the Honourable Minister of State for Works and Housing,Hon. Umar Ibrahim El-Yakubu opined that the recommendations made at this meeting will re-enforce our resolve to complete and deliver more infrastructure that will not only have far reaching impact on the socio-economic well-being of the citizenry but also generate employment and stimulate economic growth.
Hon.El-Yakub thanked the government and people of Kano state for taking the responsibility of hosting the meeting. He expressed profound gratitude to all delegates from the states, regulatory and professional bodies for their tireless efforts in making the Council a memorable and successful event

The 28th Meeting of the National Council on Works was attended by the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing; the Honourable Minister of State for Works and Housing, The Executive Governor of Kano State ; the Permanent secretary Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Commissioners of Works from States of the Federation; Permanent Secretaries of Works from 36 States of the Federation and FCT; Heads of Federal and States Agencies in the road sector, Heads of Regulatory and Professional Bodies, Representatives of the Federal Roads Safety Corp (FRSC) and Department of Roads Traffic Services (DRTS), amongst others.

Signed: Mrs. Blessing Lere–Adams, Director (Press & Public Relations, FMWH.

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