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BRIEF BY (ENGR) NWEZE DAVID UMAHI ON THE OCCASION OF THE PRESENTATION AND DEFENCE OF THE MINISTRY’S 2024 BUDGET

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BRIEF BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF WORKS, SENATOR. (ENGR) NWEZE DAVID UMAHI CON, FNSE, FNATE ON THE OCCASION OF THE PRESENTATION AND DEFENCE OF THE MINISTRY’S 2024 BUDGET TO THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON WORKS

1.0 INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
I wish to express the appreciation of the Ministry to the Joint National Assembly Committee on Works for this opportunity to present and defend the Ministry’s 2023 Budget Performance and 2024 Budget Proposal. The Ministry received the letter Ref. No. NASS/S&H/COW/01/10/1 dated 30th November, 2023 from the Joint Committee on Works requesting for details and submissions on issues pertaining to the performance of the 2023 Appropriation and 2024 Budget proposal. These documents have also been earlier submitted in response to the said letter. I will also like to explain and highlight some aspects of the submissions in the course of this budget defense.

2.0 OVERVIEW OF THE 2023 APPROPRIATION
The sum of N534, 455,695,989.00 was appropriated to the Ministry of Works and Housing and its Parastatals in the 2023 fiscal year. From this amount, Works and Housing Sectors of the then Ministry was allocated a total Capital of N453,255,980,966.00. Following the demerger of the Ministry, Federal Ministry of Works was allocated the sum of N383, 351,656,449.00 as Capital, Overhead was in the Sum of N525,362,343.96 and Personnel was in the Sum of N6,916,751,203.00. The details of the Appropriation are as follows:

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(a) Capital Allocation:
i. Main Ministry of Works: N383,351,656,449.00
ii. Parastatals: N 46,215,578,221.00
Total N429,567, 234, 670.00
(b) Overhead Cost:
i. Main Ministry: N535,362,344.40
ii. Parastatals:
a. Office of the Survey-General of the Federation (OSGOF) N239, 664,804.00
b. Federal School of Surveys (FSS), Oyo N50, 523,550.00
c. Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) N17, 525,286,292.00
d. Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) N9, 691,801.00
e. Surveyors’ Registration Council of Nigeria (SURCON) N14, 971,301.00
Total N18,375,500,092.4

(c) PERSONNEL COST
i. Main Ministry N6,916,751,203.00
ii. Parastatals N5,234,644,736.00
Total N12,151,395,939.0

3.0 2023 BUDGET RELEASES/PERFORMANCE
As earlier said, the Capital Allocation to the Ministry was N383, 351,656,449.00 after the demerger of Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. The releases so far to the Ministry was in the sum of N184,165,147,332.29, which represents 48.01% of the Capital Allocation in the 2023 Appropriation. This leaves a balance of N199, 405,010,166.71 to be released by the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF).

3.10. Capital Projects
The sum of N184,165,147,332.29 released up to date to the Ministry from the 2023 Budget Appropriation had been utilized for payments of some certified Certificates for executed works on roads and bridges by Highway, projects of Engineering Services and Common Services Departments. It is to be noted that as at the end of November 2023 the Ministry had a cumulative unpaid certificate in the sum of N1,507,873,365,516.02 (One Trillion, Five Hundred and Seven Billion, Eight Hundred and Seventy-three Million, Three Hundred and Sixty-five Thousand, Five Hundred and Sixteen Naira, Two Kobo) only for all inherited on-going highway and bridge projects. Apart from the pressure on the resources to pay, there is the inadequacy of annual budgetary provisions where in most cases N100m or N200m and even less was provided for projects estimated to cost above twenty- fifty billion Naira or even more. Awarding such projects even though appropriated is difficult on its own because the provision is inadequate to even pay 10% for mobilization whereas the Procurement Act prescribes 30% mobilization. The details of all the 2023 Budget Performance for Highways Capital Projects are provided in the document attached as Annexure I.

3.20 Overhead
Out of the Total Approved Overhead of N535,362,344.40 the sum of N312,294,700.90 was released to the Ministry for overhead costs for the period January – July, 2023, which represents 58.33% of the budgetary provision with an outstanding sum of N 223,067,643.50.

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3.30 Personnel Cost
The Personnel Cost of N12,598,351,319.00 for the Ministry is being implemented through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) programme in the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.

4.0 REVENUE GENERATED
The sum of N723,063,678.62 was generated as revenue from January to November, 2023 and all the revenue realized have been remitted to the consolidated Revenue Account (evidence of IGR remittance enclosed).

5.0 2024 BUDGET PROPOSAL
¬ The total sum of N 657,228,251,596 was proposed for the Federal Ministry of Works and its Parastatals for Capital, Personnel and Overhead estimates in the 2024 Appropriation Bill. The breakdown of the proposals is as follows:

5.10 Capital Budget Proposal
a). Main Ministry of Works N 566,466,977,361
b). Parastatals
i. Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA). N 51, 282,456,911

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ii. African Regional Institute for Geo-Spacial Information Science and
Technology AFRIGIST (RECTAS) N 104,039,920
Grand Total N 617,853,474,192

5.20 Overhead Budget Proposal
a). Main Ministry of Works N 668,116,856.00
b). Parastatals:
i. FERMA N 22,027,209,696.
ii. RECTAS/AFRIGIST NIL
Grand Total N 22,695,326,552

5.30 Personnel Cost Proposal
i. Main Ministry of Works N 12,598,351,319
ii. Parastatals N 4,081,099,533 Grand Total N 16,679,450,852
Please note that without any presidential pronouncement, the following Parastatals which have been under the Ministry of Works have been provided for in the Budget Proposal for the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development as follows:
i. Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation (OSGoF);
ii. Federal School of Surveying, Oyo (FSS);
iii. Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN); and
iv. Surveyors’ Council of Nigeria (SURCON)
It will be good that these Committees do get these Parastatals back to the Federal Ministry of Works.

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6.0 CATEGORIZATION OF ONGOING HIGHWAY PROJECTS UP TO 2023

The Ministry undertook a total of 2,097of on-going/inherited projects at a total Contract Sum of N13,835,640,624,786. The total amount certified to date stood at N4,772,770,148,140.41, while the total amount paid was in the sum of N3,140,569,453,163,82 as at November, 2023. 3 details are shown in Annex I.

Some of the projects are categorized according to special funding mechanism as follows:
6.10 Highway Project Financed with Presidential Infrastructure Development FUND (PIDF).
A total of Four selected critical projects are being funded under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) Project which is managed by the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). The projects are:

a. Expansion and upgrading of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Section I (Lagos-Shagamu);
b. Expansion and upgrading of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Section II (Shagamu-Ibadan);
c. Reconstruction/Rehabilitation of Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Road; and
d. Construction of 2nd Niger Bridge and two Bypasses at Asaba and Onitsha.

As at date, the total sum of N846, 365,489,635.12 has been certified out of the initial projects cost N1,535,375,595,518.43. This translates to a performance of 55.12%. The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway has been substantially completed to about 90% but we still lack fund to complete the project. The Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Road is in three sections with about 127km uncompleted in section I (Abuja-Kaduna). Section II which is Kaduna-Zaria is fully completed and section III which is Zaria-Kano is on-going with 20km left uncompleted. The total cost of the three sections is about N655billion. The contractor is seeking for a review of contract to about N1.37trillion to complete the project. We are reviewing the request.

However, even though the project will not get up to N1trillion when fairly reviewed, we believe that the unit rates ought to be reviewed. For example, the subsisting unit rate of Asphalt on the project is about N11,000 per square meter, whereas the real cost now is not less than N20,000 per square meter. We have requested the contractor to execute the first 40km of section I on concrete. It is important to note that we do not have fund to continue the project by February 2024 if no funding is injected into the project.

The 2nd Niger Bridge has been completed and was recently handed over to the Ministry. Additionally, there remains the construction of the Approach roads 2A and 2B which were awarded by FEC but have funding challenges to take-off. The remaining two Bypasses in Asaba (2A) and Onitsha (2B) awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and Reynods Construction Company Nigeria Limited respectively, during the last Administration was initially estimated at about N200billion but now with inflation, the cost may be up to N260billion. There is no funding for these projects and the projects have not taken off. Let me note that without these Bypasses, the completed 2nd Niger Bridge will be almost inoperative. The details of these projects are as shown in Annexure II.

6.20 Highway Projects Financed with the Sovereign SUKUK Fund
The Federal Government through the Debt Management Office (DMO) initiated Sukuk Funding Programme for financing road infrastructure in 2017. The total sum of N683.122bn was raised to fund 25, 28, 44, 71 and 63 number projects in years 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively. All the works milestones for the Sukuk in year 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021 were completely drawn down while the 2022 Sukuk, issued in the sum of N110,000,000,000.00 is on-going. A total of 63 selected critical projects are being funded under the 2022 Sovereign Sukuk Issuance. As at end of November 2023, the total sum of N50,537,288,079.45 was drawn down translating to a performance of 46%. The details of execution of the projects and drawdown of the 2022 Sukuk Bond is as shown on Annex III;
6.30 The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) Funded Projects Phase I
The NNPC joined the Road Infrastructure Development & Refurbishment Tax Credit Scheme programme by undertaking to finance 21 roads in the sum of N621bn with total length of roads of about 1,804.6km under the NNPC Phase I. These roads were identified by key stakeholders such as the NNPC, Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association (PTD) and the Ministry etc. as being crucial for the efficient distribution of petroleum products across the nation. As at date, the total drawdown forwarded to the NNPC Limited is in the sum of N247,729,252,899.54 out of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved sum of N621,237,164,794.59 representing 39.88% performance. The funding gap here due to inflation is estimated at over 250bn. The details of NNPC Phase I Funded Projects are attached as Annex IVA;

6.40 The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) Funded Projects Phase II
The NNPC Phase II Funded Projects were approved by the Federal Executive Council in the sum of N1,969,700,168,910.78 for the execution of 44 No. roads with total length of 4,554.19km while the initial Contract Sum was about N3.969trillion. This leaves a funding gap of over N2trillion at the time of starting the projects. Presently, with inflation, the funding gap to have the NNPC Phases I & II completed shall stand at about N3.56trillion (Inflation about N1.5trillion) for two years from now. This funding gap is neither appropriated for nor has any source of funding. This means that without the kind intervention of this Distinguished and Honourable Joint Committees of Works, these projects will not go on mostly from March 2024 when the NNPC funding would have been exhausted. Your kind intervention and advice are highly, highly and urgently solicited. As at date, the total drawdown forwarded to the NNPC Limited is in the sum of N752,093,618,603.51 representing 38.18% performance. The level of drawdown seems low because most of the projects needed to be reviewed due to the inflation, The details of NNPC Phase II Funded Projects are attached as Annex IVB.

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6.50 Other projects funded under Road Infrastructure Development & Refurbishment Tax Credit Scheme.
Several Companies have leveraged on the Executive Order No.7 of 2019 to commit investments in the construction/rehabilitation of roads and obtain Tax credit. Companies like NLNG Limited, Dangote Industries Limited, BUA International Limited, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited and GZI Industries projects have embraced the Road Infrastructure Development & Refurbishment Tax Credit Scheme program. Twenty-one projects at a total cost of N1.338trillion outside of those being funded by the NNPCL are being executed under this Scheme. The details are attached as Annex IVC; and
a) Projects funded from Multi – Lateral Loans.
4Nos. major highway and bridge projects are being funded through Multilateral Loans and grants from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the China Exim Bank. The details of these projects are attached as Annex V.

7.0 2023 APPROPRIATION OF ALL ONGOING EMERGENCY/SPECIAL REPAIRS AND LIMITED REHABILITATION PROJECTS

These are projects being executed under emergency repairs works along the Federal Highway network. The projects under this category have a total contract cost of N419,841,989,869.00, with a total amount certified in the sum of N307,486,496,856.58, while the total amount paid is in the sum of N 123,213,264,774.77, the Ministry is indebted to Contractors to the tune of N 184,273,232,081.81. The details of these projects are included in Annex I.

8.0 INTERVENTION ON TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS PROJECTS
These are projects being executed under the intervention in Federal Government Tertiary Institutions. Out of 108 projects under this category at a total contract cost of N15,641,954,804.16, 61 projects have been completed and handed over at a total cost of N10,790,866,435.35 as at end of November 2023. Twenty-one projects at a total cost of N3,874,482,841.53 have been completed awaiting handover, while the remaining 26 at a total cost of N3,491,998,752.77 are on-going. The details of these projects are attached as Annex VII.

9.0 OVERGROWN VEGETATION CONTROL PROJECTS
These are projects being executed under the intervention on Federal Government Tertiary Institutions. The projects under this category have a total contract cost of N2,333,448,750.00, with a total amount certified in the sum of N1,795,927,968.71, while the total amount paid is in the sum of N62,060,468.75, the Ministry is indebted to Contractors to the tune of N1,733,867,499.96. The details of these projects are included in Annex I.

10.0 PROJECTS PRIORITIZED FOR COMPLETION 2022-2024
In spite of all odds, 21 major road and bridge projects have been completed and some were commissioned, while others are ready for commissioning. The total cost of the completed major road and bridge projects is in the sum of N498,802,362,642.46 with a total length of 489. 97km. Also, to be completed in 2024 is the 260 Emergency Repair works in the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation at a total cost of about N260bn. The detail of completed projects is attached as Annex VI.

11.0 BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION/ REHABILITION PROJECTS
Under the 2023 budget, the Ministry undertook massive rehabilitation of bridge projects, some of which have never been maintained since they were constructed over 50 years ago. Human activities on these bridges (i.e. vandalization, fire incidents) have left these bridges in deplorable state and unserviceable conditions. The Ministry is trying to sustain these critical works in the 2024 budget as well as undertake the construction of new bridges where there was none in order to reduce travel time as well as the reconstruction of bridges to replace collapsed ones.

These projects are:
a). Comprehensive Repairs of the damaged elements of the Third Mainland bridge superstructure: This was procured this year and works are currently ongoing and is satisfactory so far. The second Phase which involves the substructure repairs is being processed for award.

b). Comprehensive emergency repairs of Eko and Marine bridges in Lagos State: Works are ongoing on these bridges. The Contractor has attained appreciable progress and is being supported financially to enable expeditious completion due to the emergency nature of the works.

c). Proposed Rehabilitation of Carter, Iddo, Liverpool and Iganmu bridges in Lagos State: The present condition of the above bridges calls for urgent rehabilitation works to restore the bridge integrity and forestall further deterioration that may be detrimental to road users. In this regard, the procurement process is already ongoing within the Ministry for the emergency award of contract for the repairs/rehabilitation of these bridges.

d). The Rehabilitation of Jimeta bridge in Adamawa State and Murtala Mohammed bridge at Koton Karfe along Lokoja – Abuja Road; Works on these bridges are ongoing and will soon be completed.

e). Proposed construction of Shendam bridge in Plateau State, Reconstruction of failed bridges in Enugu State and the Construction of Buruku bridge in Benue State; and

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f). Reconstruction of three failed Bridges on East/West Road
These are new bridges that are required to ameliorate the sufferings of the host communities as well as other commuters. Procurement of contract for the construction of these bridges are already at an advanced stage and will soon be completed. Funds will be needed to bring them into reality.

12.0 NEW PROJECTS IN 2024 BUDGET
There are new projects captured under the 2024 Budget at a total cost of N102,956,624,538.00. See Annexure 13

13.0 PROSPECTS AND PROSPECTS OF THE 2024 BUDGET FOR HIGHWAY PROJECTS

The policy thrust regarding the 2024 budget for highway projects is to ensure completion of some critical on-going projects which have attained significant levels of completion while keeping the rest alive through minimal appropriation. 693 new projects have been proposed in the 2024 budget, which are critical to improving road network connectivity and thus enhancing traffic circulation on the Federal Road network, necessary for boosting socio-economic activities in the country. The primary objective is enabling the Ministry achieve its mandate in providing a quality Federal Road network that serves as an environment to aid socio-economic growth of the country.

The main challenge to highways development in the Country remains inadequate funding. As at date, Government is committed to highway contractors to the tune of about N13.835 trillion with a total of about N1,507,873,365,516.02 unpaid certificates for executed works. Secondly, the dearth of younger Engineers/Technical Officers in the Ministry as a result of embargo on employment is affecting effective project supervision at the sites. It is expected that more sources of funding of highway projects be explored as well as lifting the embargo on employment of needed Engineers/Technical officers at middle level to enhance supervision of projects. Our Ministry has set up six committees to review all debts, approved and unapproved variations on prices of basic rates, and all augmentations that occurred before May 29th 2023 and from May 30th 2023 till date.

14.0 RECOMMENDATIONS
14.10 From the fore-going, I would like to recommend as follows:
a) The provision of an Emergency Fund of about 30% of the Budget Provision to cater for unforeseen emergencies that regularly occur on the road network especially during the rainy seasons;
b) An increase of the Ministry’s present budgetary allocation to about N1.5tr to complete at least 10 selected critical roads and bridges in each of the six geo-political zones of the country;
c) Urgent review of all certified debts to contractors and if possible, convert same to Promissory Notes to contractors so that we can get properly focused in using any fund appropriated to us to pursue the Ministry’s set objectives;
d) Inflation- Many contractors are presently out of sites because they have exhausted their contract VoPs and needed the projects unit rates to be reviewed. It will be good that all VoPs and augmentations of all the projects are reviewed and those that are owed be converted to Promissory Notes, while unit rates regime will take effect on contractors in line with the current realities of the construction industry.
e) More eligible companies should be encouraged to key into the Road Tax Credit Scheme to increase the number of private sector interventions. This means front-loading their tax liabilities to solve our present challenges;
f) Raising of Bonds from the Capital Market to finance road development in the country;
g) Creation of an enabling environment by fixing the roads so that the deployment of the Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI) can be effective; and
h) That appropriations for projects be such that no projects when started should last for more than four years.

14.20 ISSUE OF ASPHALT (FLEXIBLE) VERSUS CONCRETE (RIGID) PAVEMENT
It would be my great pleasure to clarify the misunderstanding of the Ministry’s new policy direction regarding the use of Rigid pavement on her projects. I have to state categorically that no Contractor is prevented from executing the scope works originally signed with the client once certain conditions are observed, which are provision of a 15year shelf-life Insurance Guarantee for the works and a maximum of 5% of Variation of Price (VoP) in the Contract. The Ministry’s new policy is to prevent excessive augmentation of contracts considering the scarcity of Forex and weakening of the Naira against the Dollar which makes the cost of bitumen (which is fully imported) increase in geometric progression against the arithmetic progression rise in cement prices in concrete road pavements. In these times of rising inflation and scarce resources, the Country needs to look inwards to conserve foreign exchange.

15.0 COMMENDATIONS
We thank the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Senator Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR for the intervention of his Renewed Hope administration in the Works sub-sector and approval of an enhanced budget envelop for the Federal Ministry of Works. We also thank the leadership of National Assembly, the Chairmen and members of the Works Committees and indeed members of the National Assembly for their painstakingness in ensuring the speedy passage of the 2024 Appropriation Bill.

N.D.U
Federal Ministry of Works
December, 2023

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