FG to restore 28 toll plazas, refund states with promissory notes
On the heels of spirited efforts to rejig the economy, the Federal Government has moved to restore 28 toll plazas, install weigh bridges and boost concrete road technology in the construction industry.
Under the new initiative, the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has concluded preliminary designs for the plazas, as construction work is currently on-going in some of the old plazas, and there are plans to incorporate technology such as using contact cards, installing fibre optic, using GSM to enable people pay with minimum use of cash.
Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who spoke at the Road Construction Summit organized by Businessday and Lafarge in Lagos, said the intervention will bring more demand for services and provide opportunities to build the plazas, manage them, provide telecoms and payment platforms, creating vending opportunities for people to buy their toll tickets in the way they buy their recharge cards.
“We have also concluded traffic surveys on 51 major highways and now have current traffic data on these roads and we can project vehicular traffic movement for tolling and concession purposes,” Fashola said.
On the debts owed to state governments and contractors who have invested funds in Federal roads, he revealed that about N47.17billion has been disbursed to 62 contractors while an inter-Ministerial Committee has verified the claims of the debts and the Federal Executive Council has approved a memorandum to pay these debts by the issuance of promissory notes subject to approval by the National Assembly.
His words: “The successful implementation of this debt payment solution will release money to states for more road construction, restore confidence in the construction industry who can only then do more to stimulate production demand and economic growth.”
Fashola announced that the government has expanded its agreement with Dangote Group by awarding contract for the reconstruction of Oshodi -Oworonshoki to the Lagos end of the Toll Gate on the Ibadan Expressway.
The government plans to grant the company tax incentive to the Dangote group, which initially was pegged at five-year limit to a ten-year period. It has earlier approved contract for the Apapa area comprising Creek Road, Liverpool Road, Marine Beach to Mile 2, for construction using concrete.
On the plans road preservation and maintenance, he said: “Our first strategy is to preserve and prevent abuse to our roads, which are currently being subjected to excessive axle load pressure of overloading. We are working to install weighbridges at 22 points.”
The Chairman, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mobolaji Balogun noted that improvement in infrastructure attracts further domestic and foreign investment, which creates jobs, and jobs as well as better social outcomes in education, health and life’s expectancy.