Buhari promises sustained funding for Trans-Saharan highway projects
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the Trans-Saharan highway projects would continue to receive deserved attention and funding from his administration, to bolster economic activities and enhance regional and cultural integration in Africa.
Buhari made this known in his remarks at the opening of the 70th session of the Trans-Saharan Road Liaison Committee (TRLC) in Abuja attended by the works ministers from all six member states. The meeting is expected to review most of what transpired in the 69th session and get an update on Trans-Saharan roads.
Represented at the quadrennial meeting by the Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Mohammed Dingyadi, the president said when he took over in 2015, his administration decided to introduce changes geared towards sustainable and quality infrastructure for economic development and job creation.
“Our commitment is to increase Nigeria’s stock of road infrastructure to ease the cost and time of doing business and improve on economic competitiveness as envisaged under our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
“In view of this, our administration shares the aspiration and vision of the TRLC aimed at encouraging member countries to develop Trans-Saharan roads within their respective territories.“It is a pride to Africa and that is why Nigeria has supported and will continue to support its existence,” he said.
According to him, special funds had been committed to the reconstruction work on the sections of Trans-Saharan roads from Lagos to Ibadan and Kaduna to Kano. Other sections of the road from Ibadan to Ilorin, Ilorin to Jebba, Jebba to Makwa and to Kaduna are either being dualised or rehabilitated, he added.He congratulated the TRLC for its tenacity and achievement over the years.
“I ask member states and their representatives to remain committed to the prompt delivery of this crucial development of road transport infrastructure for the benefit of our people. Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, said, “There is a coast to coast connectivity from the West to the East of Africa and north-east of Africa to the north-west of Africa and from the south-west of Africa to East Africa.”
In his remarks, the Secretary General of TRLC, Mr. Ayadi Mohammed, said among things to be discussed were the necessary volumisation of the projects and what must be done to stimulate trade between the two coasts of the Sahara and review the reasons for the degrade of some Saharan roads.
Director, Highways Planning and Development, Mr Chukwunwike Uzo, said the TRLC, with six countries – Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Tunisia, Algeria and Mali – was formed in 1966 to establish a road link across the six countries to encourage growth, socio-economic activities, development, cooperation and trade.
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