By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
Federal government has approved the sum of 200billion Naira for continuation of most of the inherited ongoing projects and very few new critical road projects
This is in a bid to actualise a sustainable road infrastructure development in the country, the President had earlier “approved a 2023 supplementary budget of three hundred billion naira (₦300bn). For the Ministry of Works comprising.
While one hundred billion naira (₦100bn) for immediate palliative works in the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and two hundred billion naira (₦200bn) for continuation of most of the inherited ongoing projects and very few new but critical road projects.
Umahi stressed, “The engagements of the Federal Ministry of Works will not be limited to these isolatedly reported cases but shall be holistic in our approach through these approved palliative measures and the interventions of FERMA in all the 36 States and FCT also.”
This was according to a statement signed by the Minister of Works, David Umahi, stated that President Tinubu had directed the commencement of palliative works on failed sections, both those already complained about or not, of all highways, before 1st December, 2023 across the country.
He therefore requested that the public assist the Federal Ministry of Works and FERMA by supervising the contractors to be engaged in the palliative works and indeed all ongoing projects, adding that it is the right of every Nigerian to have value for their money deployed to the road infrastructure sector, hence they must show both interest and passion in all ongoing projects at the federal, State and Local governments level.
All poorly constructed roads should be photographed and reported immediately to the following contacts:
08030986263, 08037086137, or 08106423197; showing the name of the contractor, the location and type of contract and defects observed.
“The Federal Ministry of Works will document such reports, verify and take effective action to correct such infractions.
“The Federal Ministry of Works shall also periodically recognize publicly those who made such reports that are genuine in a public engagement forum to be hosted quarterly by the Federal Ministry of Works and will sanction such erring contractors publicly too,” the Minister said.
The Minister who used the opportunity to clarify and buttress the government’s stance on conditional use of asphalt of concrete in the construction of highways in the country stressed that the ministry under his watch had at no banned use of asphalt and made concrete pavement compulsory, but only insisted that the attached conditions must be met.
He said the contrary information making the rounds and the concerns being raised in public places over concrete pavement are the handiwork of people who are ignorant about the dynamics and technology of road building.
Outlining the conditions, Umahi said, “For the avoidance of doubt, the new policy of the Federal Ministry of Works is simply put as follows: i. Contractors for all the ongoing projects are simply requested to have a choice to continue to use asphalt or have their projects redesigned on concrete at no extra cost to government following the underlisted conditions.
ii. Use of asphalt: contractors shall stick to only 5% Variation On Price (VOP) in line with the signed contract agreement throughout the period of the project and the signed contract shall not be subject to review especially on bituminous items.
iii. The thickness of the asphalt pavement as designed must be strictly adhered to by all such contractors and the design shelf life for the asphalt (at least 15 years) shall be guaranteed by issuing an insurance bond through a reputable insurance company in favour of the federal government.
“This is in line with Article 2 of the signed contract and clause 51 of the general conditions of contract (which is part of the documents forming the signed contract with contractors, authorizing the client through the engineer to change the scope of the work, the quantity of the work, the quality of the work as the client may deem fit at any time, etc.) for all the ongoing projects.
And for the use of concrete, he said, “Contractors must abide by the 5% VOP and 50 years design shelf life using concrete grade 40.
“Those who are complaining and demarketing this policy are simply those who do not wish Nigeria well and they are the same people that use adulterated bitumen in their projects while putting pressure on our Naira through the importation of adulterated bitumen instead of developing our abundant God given bitumen deposits in Ogun State and other parts of Nigeria. Insofar as this new policy has not violated any law, the Federal Ministry of Works is forging ahead with this new policy.
“As at today, most of the ongoing projects are still ongoing with asphalt pavement in line with this new policy while some are redesigned on concrete pavement, depending on the terrain and with full understanding of the affected contractors of those projects.”