Niger Delta ministry seeks $800m loan for Oron-Calabar East-West road project
• FG urges contractor to use local content, equipment
• Bauchi to establish road maintenance agency
About $1.07billion is required to construct Section V of the East-West Road, Oron in Akwa Ibom state to Calabar, Cross River State. Out of which, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is applying for only $800million loan from the China Exim Bank.
Director of Press at the Ministry, Deworitse Patricia quoted the Minister of State, Senator Tayo Alasoadura to have disclosed this at an interactive session with Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDA’s) organized by the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts in the National Assembly.
Alasoadura stated that in order to realize the full economic potentials of the East-West road, it is expedients that the road covers the entire East-West segment of the Niger Delta region up to Calabar in Cross River State, the home of Tinapa Export Free Zone.
He lamented that there is no direct link from the end of the-ongoing East-West road at Oron in Akwa Ibom State to Calabar in Cross River States presently.
The Minister said the 23.1 kilometre road is expected to be completed between 2-3 years once construction work starts.
Alasoadura further informed the Senate Committee that the road project was scaled down from a dual carriageway to single carriage way because of the lean resources of the government.
Chairman Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator, Clifford Odia reiterated that the essence of the interactive meeting with the MDA’s was to get a robust reason on why the proposed loan is expedient and how it would be repaid to the lending institution.
He advised that all MDA’s proposed loan submission to the National Assembly must include all necessary requirements to enable the committee peruse and take appropriate decision on the subject.
In a related development, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has called on the contractor handling the dualisation of Aba – Ikot Ekpene Road, to deploy equipment and personnel locally for road project.
He spoke during the inspection of the project in Ikot Ekpene, explained, “Start hiring local equipment and people, training and engaging them while waiting for the one from China.”
Fashola also directed that between now and March all the bad portions of the road must be completed before the rains come, ‘so that the people will know that government care for the construction of the road.’
According to the minister said the contract was initially awarded to a different company but to be terminated due to poor performance and now re-awarded to Messrs CGGC Global Projects Nig. Limited.
While inspecting work on dualisation of Odukpani – Itu Road, Fashola expressed optimism that Julius Berger Nigeria Limited, handling the project would work to ensure that it is ready before rain season.
He further added, the other bad portions of the Odukpani- Itu Road, which the contractual responsibilities had been awarded to another company, so we have a contractor on both sides.
Similarly, the Minister assured the contractor that he doesn’t need to leave the site on funding basis because he had enlisted the project for SUKUK funding, hence they wont run out of money.
Earlier, the contractor handling the project, however, complained that the equipment and some of the personnel they wanted to use were stuck in China as a result of the outbreak of coronavirus.
The Permanent Secretary for Works in Akwa Ibom State, Engr. John Itiat expressed happiness over the commitment of the Federal government to carry out the work on the road.
Meanwhile, Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, has said that plans are underway to establish the state’s Road Maintenance Agency for the rehabilitation of federal roads.
Mohammed who stated this while on courtesy visit to FERMA in Abuja, said this would help to keep roads safe and motorable.
The Governor said the State was ready to partner with them to tap from the vast knowledge and experience as master of road sector to enable them perform when establishing a State own Road Maintenance Agency.
Expressing concern over deplorable condition of Bauchi-Gombe-Alkaleri road, he maintained that it has not been rehabilitated as against that of Kari-Misau-Yana-Kwanan Huguma road and Yashi-Duguri road.
Earlier, Rafindadi assured Bauchi State government of their determination to give special attention to the rehabilitation and maintenance of federal roads, being the gateway of North East States.
He therefore, commended the Governor for recognising the giant strides FERMA is recording in Bauchi State, adding that by his coming both would partner on establishment of the Agency.
He however lamented the paucity of funds as a major factor limiting the
concerted efforts of the agency to keep federal roads safe and motorable across the nation and in the state generally.
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