…says contractors using asphalt must sign 30 years indemnity agreement
THE Minister of Works, David Umahi, says the way Nigeria’s budgetary allocation is designed is not encouraging contractors to complete federal road projects across the country in good time.
Speaking at a press conference held in Abuja on Monday, Umahi said the release of the funds to contractors on an annual basis makes road projects linger for a long time, noting that in most cases, the contractor accesses little funds to purchase necessary materials to carry out their job.
H said delay further gives rise to contract variation as inflation affects the original amount agreed for the project.
He said, “When you give a contractor N150m a year for a road project of N600m, he will pocket it while mobilising to the site without doing anything on the ground. When confronted, he will say he is yet to get the material he requested for outside the country as the money was not enough.”
Umahi, however, appealed to the National Assembly to release over N650m it withheld for some projects across the country, which he said are almost completed but lack of funds is still keeping the contractors on site.
He went on to encourage Nigerians to cultivate the habit of building cash crops across road corridors to prevent kidnappings.
“Nigerians must get value for their taxes. The road is everything. Where we are having kidnapping is on the spot where roads are bad, we should remove the bushes and plant cash crops. It is ideal and acceptable and we should replicate it in all parts of the country. It will remove kidnappings,” he added.
While noting that the construction of concrete roads should not be enforced on projects awarded already, he said contractors would need to give assurance that roads built with asphalt would last up to 30 years, even though concrete roads last longer.
“We are not stopping asphalt works but it is not possible to be paying the job that we know will not stand for five years. Contractors hide under the funny excuse of overloading for the road not standing long.
“The concrete road when properly done will last for 50 years and we have success where we have done that apart from the one I did in Ebonyi state,. In fact, before I left office we delivered Abakaliki Ridgeway Road, which was funded by the African Development Bank.”
He added that the ministry would review the operations of the Federal Road Management Agency to ensure that any intervention in states would be done with the input of the state government to know the roads with top priority.