FG to Begin Work on 9th Mile/Makurdi, East West Road, Benin Bypass Others From Dec 1st-Umahi
The Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi has assured Nigerians that some of the critically damaged roads in the country will begin to receive attaention from December 1, 2023.
Engr. Umahi listed the roads that will receive immediate attention to include “the Makurdi-Nsukka 9th Mile Road, East West Road, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Benin bypass road, collapsed bridges of Enugu- Port Harcourt road, collapsed bridges of Shandam-Plateau State, Abuja-Kaduna- Zaria-Kano road and Gombe- Bauchi.”
In a statement personally signed by the minister, he disclosed that President Bola Tinubu has approved a N300 billion supplementary budget for the immediate take off of works on the roads.
Noting that President Tinubu inherited over N6 trillion in roads infrastructure funding deficit, the former governor of Ebonyi state, however, said that the government would not complain but face the challenge head on.
“Mr. President has since reeled out plans of commitment, consistence, and innovations towards actualizing a sustainable road infrastructure development throughout the country. He has just approved a 2023 Supplementary budget of Three Hundred Billion Naira (₦300B) for the Ministry of Works comprising of One Hundred Billion Naira (₦100B) for immediate palliative works in 36 States and FCT and Two Hundred Billion Naira (₦200B) for continuation of most of the inherited ongoing projects and very few new but critical road projects,” he revealed.
Reiterating the resolve of the federal government to adopt both concrete and asphalt in road construction, the minister revealed that the government has developed new parameter and guidelines for adoption of either material in constructing roads in the country.
He stated that “the Federal Ministry of Works has at no time banned the use of asphalt or directed that concrete pavement shall be the only means of road pavement structure.”
He listed the new guidelines to include:
“Use of asphalt: contractors shall stick to only 5% Variation On Price (VOP) in line with the signed contract agreement throughout the period of the project and the signed contract shall not be subject to review especially on bituminous items.
“The thickness of the asphalt pavement as designed must be strictly adhered to by all such contractors and the design shelf life for the asphalt (at least 15 years) shall be guaranteed by issuing an insurance bond through a reputable insurance company in favour of the Federal Government. This is in line with Article 2 of the signed contract and clause 51 of the general conditions of contract (which is part of the documents forming the signed contract with contractors which authorize the client through the Engineer to change the scope of the work, the quantity of the work, the quality of the work as the client may deem fit at any time etc.) for all the ongoing projects. These directives to the contractors do not in any way violate the Federal Ministry of Works’ signed agreement with the contractors.
“For the use of concrete, contractors must abide by the 5% VOP and 50 years design shelf life using concrete grade 40.
“ Those who are complaining and demarketing this policy are simply those who do not wish Nigeria well and they are the same people that use adulterated bitumen in their projects while putting pressure on our Naira through the importation of adulterated bitumen instead of developing our abundant God given bitumen deposits in Ogun State and other parts of Nigeria. Insofar as this new policy has not violated any law, the Federal Ministry of Works is forging ahead with this new policy. As at today, most of the ongoing projects are still ongoing with asphalt pavement in line with this new policy while some are redesigned on concrete pavement, depending on the terrain and with full understanding of the affected contractors of those projects.
Expressing his displeasure over the poor supervision culture in the ministry, the minister said that both directors in the ministry and the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) have been directed to in addition auditing all ongoing works under their jurisdiction, they should also take supervision serious going forward.
“The Director of Works of the 36 States and FCT and FERMA have been directed to audit all projects in their States and FCT especially equipment on and off sites with their pictures, personnel of contractors, status of all projects including financial status (contract sum, date of award, period of construction and time table, amount paid, challenges, % of work completion, augmentation of project if any, VOP claims etc). This assignment must be completed before 30th November 2023. Note that this directive was given since the past two months,” he stated.
The minister also called on the public to adopt road works in their area as their own and ensure that contractors adhere to stipulated guidelines, he also released phone numbers through which the public can reach the ministry.
“The public is hereby requested to assist the Federal Ministry of Works and FERMA by supervising the contractors that will be engaged in these palliative works and indeed all ongoing projects of the Federal Ministry of Works and FERMA. It is the right of every Nigerian to have value for their money deployed to the road infrastructure sector and therefore must show both interest and passion in all the ongoing projects by the Federal Ministry of Works and FERMA, and indeed all projects of the Federal, State and Local governments. All poorly constructed roads should be photographed and reported immediately to the following contacts:
“08030986263, 08037086137, or 08106423197; showing the name of the contractor, the location and type of contract and defects observed. The Federal Ministry of Works will document such reports, verify and take effective action to correct such infractions. The Federal Ministry of Works shall also periodically recognize publicly those who made such reports that are genuine in a public engagement forum to be hosted quarterly by,” the statement announced.