The Joint Committee of Senate and House of Representatives on Works have pledged its support to the Ministry of Works to ensure that all ongoing road projects in the country are expeditiously constructed and rehabilitated.
Mr Stephen Kilebi, Deputy Director, Press of the ministry, in a statement he signed and made available to newsmen, said the assurance was given during the 2020 Budget Defence of the ministry at the National Assembly, Abuja.
Mr Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing while answering questions on issues of the deplorable condition of roads in the country and the delay to commence repairs, said the rainy season was not an ideal period for road construction and repairs because of flood.
The minister said that soon Nigerians would witness a turnaround in road repairs as his ministry would swing into action.
The Minister, however, maintained that inadequate funding was the major challenge hindering his ministry from realizing its mandate and set goals.
He added that while the number of roads that needed to be repaired kept increasing on daily basis, the fund to fix them was grossly inadequate and at times not available.
Fashola revealed that the ministry was usually saddled with the problem of land compensation from communities, individuals and various tribes who make exorbitant claims for compensation from the Federal Government.
He, therefore, called on the legislators and the State Governors to help his Ministry out in this regard.
Fashola suggested prioritisation of the major roads for completion and rehabilitation.
According to him, priority in the construction and rehabilitation of roads should be given to the major highways that connect various state capitals, the sea ports, air ports, the fuel deports among others.
He said for the repairs of these critical major roads, it should be staggered and evenly spread across the six geo-political zones across the country, so that no zone, individual or group of persons would complain of neglect or marginalisation.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Works, Sen. Adamu Aleiro suggested Public Private Partnership Financing Strategy to fix the Nigeria’s roads.
For his part, the Co-Chairman of the Joint Committee, Mr Abubakar Bichi reiterated the support of the members to collaborate with the ministry to address the challenges of roads in Nigeria.
The Minister of State for Works and Housing, Mr Abubakar Aliyu, the Permanent Secretary, Mohammed Bukar and directors of the Ministry were at the 2020 Budget Defence.
By Perpetua Onuegbu