Against the backdrop of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the development of critical infrastructure, especially highways and bridges, the Honourable Minister of Works, Sen. Engr. Nweze David Umahi, CON, has been driving a proactive approach which is ultimately intended to enable the realization of the strategic mandate of the Ministry.
This initiative is indicative of the necessity of the Ministry’s pursuit of the agenda which seeks to expand, upgrade rehabilitate the network of existing highways and bridges across the country.
Principally, the Minister has adopted a personal drive leading to frequent visits to project sites across the length and breadth of the country, monitoring performance of Contractors handling critical highways, bridges as well as other amenities that would make the road networks modern and user friendly.
To illustrate this, in the last few weeks, Umahi has visited several ongoing projects, namely Abuja-Makurdi dual carriageway, Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressway, East-West Road, Port Harcourt-Eleme Road, and very recently, is the inspection of the ongoing rehabilitation of the Third Mainland bridge in the company of the Minister of Finance & Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, to examine the progress of work on the nation’s foremost bridge because of its importance for economic activities in the nation’s economic capital.
Alluding to the new monitoring assignment of the Minister of Works, which has seen the two Ministers inspect Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressway and the Third Mainland bridge, Eko and Carter bridges in Lagos, Sen. Umahi told journalists that the objective of the joint ministerial tours, was an initiative to ensure that the Coordinating Minister is afforded first hand assessment of Federal road projects before scare resources are released to the Ministry.
In essence, the joint ministerial inspection is a paradigm shift; a strategy conceived by the Tinubu administration to ensure there is coordinated and integrated approach to project financing for critical infrastructure especially in a struggling economy where scarce funds are judiciously allocated and utilized.
Focusing on tasks, the inspection have been thoroughly assertive as seen in cases where the Ministers laud Contractors performance and condemn in straight fashion any shoddy or slow pace of work as in the case of the performance of RCC handling the East-West Road in the South-South region of the country.
During the last visit to the ongoing rehabilitation of the Third Mainland bridge, the two Ministers gave frank assessments of the comprehensive work on the surface of the bridge; particularly the laying of the asphalt pavements and the street lighting component as well as the installation of CCTV cameras. Similar approach was adopted for the inspection of the surface and under the bridge assessment of the Lagoon section of the Eko and Carter bridges.
It is very important to agree with the assessment of the strategic need for the joint ministerial visitation especially the inspection of the three bridges and the marina section of the Lagoon shoreline which require urgent action to address the defects sighted.
Given the foregoing, the joint ministerial inspection is necessary and justified given the huge resources already committed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s government to the road sector totaling N857 billion under the 2023 Supplementary and 2024 annual appropriation. This is intended to facilitate the upgrade, rehabilitation, expansion and maintenance of 2,254 road networks covering the six geo-political zones of the country. In 2024 alone, 1,925 highways are to be constructed in the country.
Indeed, the Tinubu administration’s strategic plan for the development of road infrastructure is commendable and is formed with achievable targets given the commitment of the Sen. Umahi’s relentless drive for continuous monitoring of Contractors performance in a systemic and coordinated manner.
In implementing the Tinubu administration’s policy on road infrastructure development which is primarily underlined by ensuring functional and quality motorable roads for the citizens, the Federal Government’s ongoing rehabilitation of existing road networks is without doubt gaining momentum under the stewardship of Sen. David Umahi.
Beyond the present achievements, the Federal Government is determined to sustain the different initiatives meant to accelerate the attainment of the Ministry’s set targets for the road sector. As funding is critical, effort is being made to build on current gains of the existing Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) framework to upscale the investment of the private sector in road infrastructure development.
Proactively, the Tinubu administration will continue to consolidate on effective collaboration with other stakeholders particularly the National Assembly. The Minister of Works, Sen. David Umahi will continue to champion initiatives which will eventually transform the road sector as a catalyst for the economic development of the country under President Bola Tinubu.
Source: Olusola Abiola
Director Information, Federal Minister of Work .