Since the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari in May, 2015, the administration through the Ministry of Works and Housing, embarked on aggressive road projects across the country to address decades of infrastructure challenges that slowed down the nation’s socio-economic growth.
The administration has been doing this by allocating more resources to the sector to resuscitate abandoned projects, rehabilitate deplorable ones and construct new projects across the country.
sustainable maintenance policy
Nigeria has over thirty-two thousand kilometers of Federal roads in the country, most of which is in a deplorable condition due to lack of sustainable maintenance policy.
It is an issue of national concern considering that road transportation accounts for about eighty per cent of movement of goods and services in the country.
The daily reports of loss of lives as a result of accidents mostly caused by the bad state of the roads, have often been devastating and worrisome to the citizens.
However, the Buhari-led administration, having understood the seriousness of the situation, came in with a different approach to addressing the decades long problem by making the allocation of more resources to the sector a priority.
From the tens of billions of naira allocated to the infrastructure sector in the past, the administration raised it to hundreds of billions of naira since assumption of office as a practical demonstration of commitment to addressing the challenge.
The Minister of Works and Housing Mr. Babatunde Fashola said prioritising the infrastructure sector by the administration despite revenue fall, was a sincere response to a national emergency.
The funds allocated to the sector were used to activate abandoned projects that hope was lost as to their execution, an example is the Bonny-Bodo bridge and its connecting roads, awarded in the seventies, the 2nd Niger Bridge and the Loko-Oweto bridge in Nasarawa and Benue states as well as the Kano-Katsina dualisation.
Some of those critical infrastructure being rehabilitated include the 3rd Mainland Bridge, which had not received any attention thirty years after construction and the nationwide rehabilitation of other major highways and about thirty other bridges.
The Minister of Works and Housing Mr. Babatunde Fashola explained that their was no part of the country that was not positively affected by the infrastructure revolution of the administration to ease movement and boost socio-economic development of the country.
Some of the major highways under construction are the Kano-Maiduri, Lagos-Ibadan, Gombe-Yola, Enugu-Onitsha, East-west road and that of Enugu-Port Harcourt.
To address the funding challenge to the ongoing projects, the Federal Government had to resort to borrowing, initiated the SUKUK fund raising initiative and the recently introduced policy of concessioning of twelve identified major highways across the country.
Mr. Fashola said apart from complementing the inadequate budgetary allocation, the concessioning of the selected highways was a practical implementation of the long awaited Public Private Partnership, PPP.
He said with the current focus, the value chain of road infrastructure under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari would not only experience a steady maintenance culture, but a value addition in job creation and a boost in economic activities through Toll Gate.