The Federal Government has disclosed that inadequate budgetary allocation is hindering execution of road projects across the nation.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said this yesterday while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council meeting.
The minister said due to inadequate budgetary allocations in 2016, the government could only reconstruct critical road networks.
He put the liabilities and debts on road projects at N1.5trn, noting that the allocation of only N200bn for road projects this year had made the government to prioritise roads used for conveyance of energy needs and food as well as those with highest traffic.
Fashola also disclosed that the present administration inherited N2.2trn road contracts awarded while contractors were owed about N1.5trn for projects already executed.
He said: "The point to make is that our ability to intervene is constrained by our budget. You cannot build a road without appropriation and authorisation for it. When we set out last year on assumption of office, I made it very clear what the liabilities that we had were; we had to deal with contracts valued in the region of about N2trn or N2.2trn that had been awarded before we came. There were debts owed those contractors, there were liabilities to complete them in the region of about N1.5trn.
"Now, the budget we've for the three ministries I superintend are in the region of N400 plus billion. Over N200bn is dedicated to roads across the country.
So, that's the deficit we have to deal with and in making those choices, we then have to deal not with roads that necessarily bother us, but roads that carry the heaviest traffic.
"First, is to deal with roads that evacuate our energy needs because without energy, the nation will grind to a halt. Those roads evacuate energy from south to north, fuel in particular. Secondly, those roads that evacuate our nourishment and food supply, our millet, tomatoes and yam from north to south. We also have to ensure that transportation business does not die. So, when you're hearing Lagos-Ibadan, it is not Lagos-Ibadan itself, it is Lagos-Ibadan that's a critical support to keep the economy of this country going.
"So, we're in situation where we've to make choices and this is how a family makes choices; what gives the greatest good to the possible greatest number with the most limited resources. So, we're limited by resources, but trying to ensure each geo-political zone is not left behind. We're also trying to ensure we're able to keep the economy of the nation going.
"Hopefully next year, we would move on to the next phase. We've provided a 3year plan to begin to address the roads, but these are subject to the appropriation we receive and once a road is not appropriated for, you cannot spend money on it, it's a violation of the laws of this country, and you'll be penalised for it. And I won't breach the law. So, I'm limited by what I'm authorised to do when appropriation comes."
Fashola said the FEC approved over N1 billion for the purchase of 150 MVA for three power substations at Shiroro, Oshogbo and Kumbotso in Niger, Osun and Kano States respectively.
He expressed optimism that the equipment would ease evacuation of generated power from generation companies by the Transmission Company of Nigeria