The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has enjoined Nigerians to keep faith with the government as it was working hard to ensure all the 21 roads funded by the NNPC Tax Credit Scheme were completed within the stipulated time frame.
A statement issued by the Director, Press & Public Relations of the Ministry, Mrs Boade Akinola on Saturday, February 12, 2022 said the Director Highways, Construction and Rehabilitation, Engr. Folorunso Esan, made the call at the inspection of the ongoing dualisation of Suleja- Minna highway, Phase I and II; and the reconstruction of Lambata -Lapai-Bida road in Niger State.
TheFact Nigeria gathered that there had been rumors of alleged hijack and diversion of funds from the NNPC Tax Credit Scheme hence the snail speed of construction projects across the country.
Contrarily, Esan said that adequate fund had been released to the contractors through the governance process established to ensure prompt delivery of the road projects, adding that no contractor had any reason not to deliver as scheduled.
He disclosed that the inspection team was among others reasons, on sites to prevail on the contractors to accelerate their work speed to ensure early completion and delivery of the roads because these were major road networks with heavy traffic flow in the North Central region connecting towns and cities within the region, South Western states and other regions in the country.
It would be recalled that during the presentation of the symbolic cheque for the 21 roads by the NNPC in the presence of all stakeholders and the media on December 21, 2021 the Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN in his remarks said that a governance process was being put in place and that the governance process required the Ministry to do certification of the certificates for jobs done promptly within five days.
Fashola added on that occasion that as soon as the certificates were certified they would be escalated to the NNPC which would be required to pay within 30 days and that the staff of the Ministry has certain number of days within which to act to certify the certificates.
He also gave assurance then that all the unpaid certificates that were in existence before the scheme was approved and all the certificates that budget provisions were inadequate to pay, would be paid as from signing of the contract with the NNPC adding that what it meant was that there would be money to pay the contractors who would in turn pay their suppliers of construction materials in the chain of distribution of wealth across the divide.
On the other hand, Esan, while expressing satisfaction about the volume of work done on the sites, said that the Ministry would carry out the appropriate tests to determine the quality and the durability of the construction work on roads to ensure compliance with acceptable standards.
The Director, however, assured Nigerians of speedy completion and delivery of the roads as scheduled despite the heavy vehicular movement on the roads, noting that inadequate funding which used to be a major challenge has been permanently solved through the NNPC Tax Credit Scheme because the Corporation would fund the road projects to their completion.
He added that the Suleja-Minna dualization which was projected to be completed in January 2024 would be completed much earlier due to the availability of fund.
On the Bida- Lapai-Lambata road, the Federal Controller of Works, Niger State, Engineer Samotu Moshood, explained that 46kms amounting to 36 percent of the work has been completed and before the rainy season commences, the work is projected to have extended to Lapai which would be additional 60kms, and the extension would continue to Agaie, another 80kms before the end of the year 2022.
The Project Manager of Messrs. Salini Nigeria Limited, Engineer Daniel Kassa, the contractor handling the Suleja-Minna Road, expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for selecting the project to be among the beneficiaries of the NNPC Tax Credit Scheme.
He disclosed that the company had been fully mobilized to the sites with adequate funds and assured Nigerians of accelerated speed on the work to enable it complete the road and deliver as scheduled.
Also, Project Manager China Global Company Nigeria Limited, Mr. Chen Xian, the contractor handling the Bida-Lapai-Lambata highway revealed that the Federal Government has fully mobilized his company to the site.
Xian who lamented that scarcity of water, was currently a hindrance to the progress of their work with the onset of dry season, assured road users that the troubled spots would have been worked upon before the rainy season because a means of supplying water to the site would be found, adding that the entire job would be completed and delivered by December, 2022.