In a bid to tackle lack of funding for infrastructure projects, the federal government has set aside N199 billion Presidential Infrastructure Funds to tackle critical projects of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
This was revealed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed while inspecting and showcasing the dualisation of the Ibadan to Ilorin road awarded since 2010 but never properly funded.
Speaking at the site of one of the projects while on inspection, the minister said “if you listen to the minister of Works and Housing, late last week he said funding will no longer be a challenge in any of our critical needs. This is because the N199 billion presidential infrastructure funds are put in place for critical roads like this to benefit.
“Also, it is important to state that the average traveler from Lagos to Ibadan and Ilorin can never see this construction for a simple reason that it is a bypass which will not run through Oyo town. So you need to come here to see the amount of work that is going on. By the time the Lagos to Ibadan to Ilorin road was built, the rail was working and a lot of the traffic we have now used to be on that rail. Clearly, when the rail failed, the traffic came back to this road”.
The minister noted that “this road is very important because it is the road in which the North is connected to the South. You can see for yourself that this is not a paper project. It is 58 percent completed and we are very confident that we will not encounter any funding challenges especially with the establishment of this presidential infrastructure fund.
“You see, the response of this administration to criticism is simply to continue to do more and also to showcase what we are doing.”
This is why you can see that it is not only me but also other ministers are out showcasing what this administration has been doing and has achieved. I am sure you witnessed the inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan axis of the Lagos-Ibadan – Kano dual carriageway. We were also in Osogbo to commission the erosion control channelization and as I speak, many of the other of my colleagues are in different parts of the country commissioning projects. The ecological fund alone has three projects which we commissioned in Osogbo. What we are saying is that the easiest way you can get the electorate to vote for you is by keeping all the electoral promises you made. It is by delivering on your promises and also by backing on the projects that are beneficial to the people and we are doing just that.”
While giving details of the project, federal controller of works, Oyo State, Engr. Omotayo Awosanya said, “this project is divided into three sections. This section is actually awarded in June 2010, with the initial completion set for 40 months. This means that it would have been completed by November 2013 at a contract sum of N47.5 billion.
The road itself is a corridor of the extension of Lagos-Ibadan expressway. The traffic that is generated in Ibadan that is going towards the north passes through here. So, the importance of this road cannot be overemphasized.”
He further explained that “when the road was initially awarded, there was no proper funding up until the present administration when the funding improved. We are also lucky that this project is benefiting from Sukuk funding in addition to what the budget provides.
“The road is 52 kilometers dualised, separated with five bridges which we have not started constructing.”
On how far they have gone with the project, Owosanya said,”presently, the road is at 58 percent completion and we have paid the contractors about N36 billion and if the funding this present administration is providing keeps coming, in no distant future, the contractor has the capacity to deliver on this project.”
Project manager, Harel Vaknin said most of the material used for the infrastructure projects are sourced locally and this has created more jobs for the people and helped in developing the economy.