The Federal Government has evolved a three-year plan for Federal roads that will ensure that, within the time frame, major road projects are implemented fairly in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.
According to a press release signed and issued by the Special Assistant (SA) to the minister on communications, Mr Hakeem Bello, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, announced the plan at the end of the just concluded meeting of the National Council on Works in Katsina State themed, “Prioritization and Optimization of Allocated Infrastructure Funds”.
The minister said the plan which will be implemented between 2017 and 2019 was already being shared with the ministry of budget and planning for inclusion in the 2017 budget and future national planning data.
Fashola, who said the plan was meant to connect states within each zone and across the country, however, pointed out that
because the government’s resources were limited; it had to make choices which, according to him, border on priority and economic expediency.
The Minister said government would be guided in its choices by such factors as inputs from the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-Operatives, who, according to him, have provided data of critical roads in each of the six zones that are necessary to help evacuate farm produce to market.
“Also roads leading to and from fuel depots will be high on the priority of choices because of the need to develop mining business and evacuate mining products and petroleum cargo to fuel the nation’s energy need,” the Minister said adding that government has also given priority to roads leading to and from the nation’s major sea and airports because of the need to support the business of traders and importers.
According to the Minister, government was also giving priority to roads that carry very heavy traffic in order to reach more people with its limited resources because of the need to move large numbers of commuters, adding that while government could not build all roads in one year, a faithful implementation of the plan would ensure equitable delivery of better roads across the country.
He declared, “Therefore, while it is true that we cannot build all roads in one year or even in three years, we are convinced that a faithful implementation of our plan, and the rational basis of our choices will deliver a better road experience, improved journey times and aid economic recovery in the short to medium term”.
Fashola also announced that Government has set in motion moves to form partnership and build synergy with state governments in order to deliver safe and motorable roads across the country adding, however, that success of the moves would depend on a number of factors, some of which were in the control of the states and some of which were in the control of the Federal Government.
He said the Controllers of Works have been challenged to be more effective and responsive to the states and communities they are posted to, adding that they should be held accountable for the quality of federal roads within their states.