Umahi’s Concrete Roads Proposal Not Technically Sound, Must Be Stopped- House of Representatives
The House of Representatives on Thursday at plenary passed a motion stopping the Federal Government from going ahead with its plan to use cement in the construction of roads in Nigeria.
The decision of the House was sequel to a motion sponsored by the member representing Gujba/Gulani/ Damaturu/Tarmuwa Federal Constituency of Yobe State, Hon. Khadija Bukar Ibrahim.
The motion which was moved by Hon. Khadija Ibrahim, and was seconded by Hon. Ogbara Kafilat titled, “ Need to Investigate the Adoption of Concrete Technology for Road Construction in Nigeria” sought to direct the attention of the parliament to the dangers posed by the unilateral announcement of the Minister for Works, Engr. David Umahi which didn’t take into consideration the legal and technical implications of the government decision.
Highlighting some specific lacunas in the position of the government, the motion reminded the parliament that:
“the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Works, has several ongoing road contracts across the country, including those awarded under the Federal Government Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme (RITCS) Executive Order 007 Phase II by NNPC valued at over Nl.4 trillion;
“Also notes that the Federal Executive Council approved the awards of the contracts to which the Federal Ministry of Works, Department of Highway (bridges and design), in preparation for the implementation of the project;
“Further notes that a due process certificate of “No Objection” was granted by the Bureau of Public Procurement to the Federal Ministry of Works for the construction and rehabilitation of all the Federal road projects:
“Aware that the Contractors submitted a Performance Guarantee of 10% of the contract sum to secure successful project completion;
“Concerned that the contract Agreements have strict liquidated damages Clauses with the supervision and monitoring by the Federal Ministry of Works to ensure that standard specifications are not compromised.
On the need for the government to take decisions that are sound in concept and implementation, the motion raised the concern that the decision of the federal government may not have been properly thought out.
The motion further reveals, “that several studies have revealed that the use of rigid/cement concrete pavements in road construction has significant technical limitations and constraints;
The motion explicitly states that “the Hon. Minister of Works’ new policy on cement concrete pavement adoption without in-depth studies of the comparative advantages/disadvantages with asphalt may contradict technical specifications, potentially leading to contract breaches and potential arbitration and litigations during a challenging economic time.”
Earlier in his contribution to the debate, Hon. Akin Alabi, the Chairman, House Committee on Works told his colleagues that his Committee was already working with relevant government and regulatory agencies to ascertain the suitability of the government’s decision.
After the motion was unanimously adopted after an incisive contributions from members, the House subsequently resolved to “urge the Federal Ministry of Works to suspend in the interim the wholesome adoption of cement concrete for road construction pending the outcome of the investigation; and then mandated “the Committees on Works, Environment, Finance and Judiciary to investigate the merit and demerit of using cement concrete for road construction and asphalt and report back within three (3) weeks for further legislative action.”