N420bn debt: Senate moves to bail out works ministry



Fashola

The Senate through its Committee on Works declared Friday that it would, along with the House of Representatives, collaborate with the Executive for an emergency fund to clear the N420 billion owed contractors by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing on road projects constructed across the country .

This is as the federal lawmakers commended the federal government for the series of road projects being constructed across the six geo-political zones.

The move was sequel to a presentation made by the minister, Mr. Babatunde Fashola.

The minister, in his presentation before the Senate Committee on Works during a budget defence session, told them that the total money owed contractors on already completed contracts on road projects “is N420 billion.”

“For roads to be in good shape at any time of the year for users in Britain for example intervention from special fund is made to put roads in good shape, particularly after winter.

“Here in Nigeria, since the rainy season is the period when roads and bridges do have problems, a fund for emergency fixing of any affected one should be put in place which may be between the radius of N45 billion,” he said.

Worried by the development, the chairman of the Committee, Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi Central), told the minister that the National Assembly would intervene for raising the N420 billion owed contractors.

He said, “This Committee and that of the House of Representatives will meet with the leadership of the National Assembly for needed collaboration with the executive on how to raise the money and offset the debt. The N350 billion proposed for road projects in the 2022 budget should be used for completion of the ones that are up to 70% execution across the country.

“We shall from this end collaborate with the Executive for an emergency fund to clear the N420 billion liability as required motivation for key players in the sector to do more.”