The Federal government has said it would continue to award contracts until the last minute of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, made this known on Thursday in Akure, Ondo State while flagging off the N90 billion dualisation of the 49km dilapidated Akure/Ado-Ekiti highway.
Reacting to the criticism against the unending award of contracts and external borrowing of the administration, the minister declared that the outgoing government has the right to award contracts till the last hour.
Fashola said, “Buhari can award contracts till the last minute. So we will work till the last minute. Those criticising us are ignoramus. Some people are saying that why are we still awarding contracts with few days to go, but they have forgotten that tenure of this present administration ends at midnight of 28th May 2023 at 11.59 pm and when it is 12 am, Bola Tinubu takes over the government and that is why we are still working.
“They forget that you the people of Nigeria through your representatives have passed a budget for us to implement. Some people are still saying why are they borrowing a few days to their expiration, it’s because we don’t have enough money and people want infrastructure. If you don’t want borrowing, that means the government will increase your taxes because that is another way to pay the deficits and that is how it is done in any part of the world.
“So this road is going to cost over a N90billion, we want the road and we are saying that Buhari’s administration is borrowing money, who is now going to give us money to do it? Some states are borrowing money outside the country, still, they will pay it back. So this road is not funded by debt, it is funded by a policy of Buhari’s called ‘Tax Credit Policy’, where the private sectors invest their tax in advance and it is paid back later. So what it means is that Federal Government has agreed to sort for other revenue to have a road. But that policy is working.
“I’m also here to tell you that we will be leaving behind sustainable development here whether we are still in the office or not. This road will be built because NNPC through the tax credit has committed to fund it.”
Fashola said the road would gulp over a sum of N90 billion and would be completed in 24 months.
The minister attributed the delay in the construction of the expressway to the bureaucratic and technical processes which road construction must pass through before the work would start. He noted that the project was being financed by Nigeria National Petroleum Limited through the Tax Credit Policy of the Federal Government.
He said, “We are going to dualise and reconstruct this road. In the road construction, the design of the road would come first and that caused the delay. It has to follow a process. The contractor has to sign an agreement until all that is done, the project can’t start. The road has to be excavated because it is starting afresh.”
In his remarks, the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Lands and Infrastructure, Raimi Aminu, lauded the minister for the flag off of the project and appealed to the people of the two states to cooperate with the contractor.
Similarly, the Ekiti State counterpart, Biodun Oyebanji, represented by Dele Agbede, said the road, when completed would improve the economy of the two states.
In his own comment, the Minister of State for Transport, Ademola Adegoroye, said the road was important to the economy of the two states.
“The road is important to our people, many people live in Akure and work in Ado, and the road would ease the movement of the people. It will improve the economy of the two states, it would ease the movement of the people,” Adegoroye stated.