Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has revealed that the Federal Government currently owes road contractors over N2.7 trillion for projects.
The minister made this revelation while he was speaking during an interactive session with members of the House Committee on Works on Tuesday, January 9, 2018.
Fashola said most of the projects that are responsible for the N2.792 trillion debt are inherited from previous administrations.He further informed the committee, who were on oversight function on the implementation of 2017 Appropriation Act, that there was an outstanding of about N265.5 billion certificate for projects executed in 2017 financial year with the sum of N120 billion released in December 2017 for the second quarter.
The minister urged the lawmakers to ease the drawn-out process of procurement for projects which have posed a considerable challenge to executing them.
He said, “We have not paid this money, but we have continued to work. There is no state in the country that one federal road project or another is not going on. We are present in every state and the Federal Capital Territory.
“The difference may be that the projects are not located in places where each of us may want them to be.
“So, the fact that payment has not been made does not mean that work is not being done.
“We have challenges with the award processes. Most of the time, the procurement process is very difficult. You have to do a lot of things. If you can come to our aid and amend the process, that will be helpful.
“At both the informal and formal interactions with our parliamentarians, I have raised this issue of the lengthy procurement processes.
“It is an area that we all have to look into to see what can be done to fast-track the work before us.”
The minister also mentioned that the Federal Government is committed to handing over certain federal roads to subnational government for adequate repairs.
The lawmakers present at the session were: Babangida Ibrahim; Abubakar Kannike; Patrick Asadu; Solomon Bulus-Maren and Emmanuel Ekon.