The Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in a crucial meeting with select road Contractors has assured Nigerians of safe passage through major arterial roads during the ember months, adding that the safety of roads in Christmas and New Year celebrations is assured.
The Minister, Babatunde Fashola stressed the need to inform the general public on what they should expect in the last months of the year in the various sections of road undergoing re-constructions and rehabilitation.
According to Fashola, “it is our responsibility to share information with members of the public as a Ministry and as contractors who operate under a federation about what happens during the raining season to road construction.”
Senior information officer in the Ministry, Olusegun Ogunkayode disclosed to our correspondent that Fashola acknowledged the disruptions which repairs can cause on roads.
While acknowledging that raining season disrupts construction activities, the Minister implored contractors to rise up to the task by collaborating with the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) so as to inform the public of what happens when roads are not maintained during the raining season, adding that it is a universal phenomenon.
In the same vein, he explained that the good side of the rains increases hydropower and agriculture.
As a panacea to funding deficit and most importantly, due to dwindling prices of oil and gas globally, the Federal Government has come up with the issuance of bonds, Sukuk, to finance 25 major road projects across the 6 geo-political zones.
In his opening remarks, the Director Highways (Construction and Rehabilitation), Engr. Yemi Oguntominiyi explained that the contractors invited are the ones working on all the road projects spread across the country. He said that the meeting is necessitated by the negative impact of the raining season on the roads with a view to making the roads motorable as well as generating employment to Nigerians.
The Managing Director of Julius Berger, Walfgang Goetsch, while appreciating the Minister, said that the construction industry, unlike any other sectors, is the backbone of the economy. He argued that the sector provides employment and increases commercial activities.
The Contractors took turns to update the Minister on their various projects. They also spoke about their achievements as well as challenges confronting them on sites. Funding was generally identified as the main cause of delay in the delivery of road projects but they unanimously commended the President Mohammed Buhari’s administration and the leadership of the Ministry for release of funds as at when due.