The Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, Senator Adamu Aliero, is seeking special intervention fund from the Federal Government to fund the construction and rehabilitation of over 520 federal roads across the country.
He made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria Abuja at the weekend.
Aliero noted that the annual budgetary provisions to road sector was insufficient and called on the government to grant special funds to ensure completion of the road projects across the country.
He said: “We certainly need special intervention and I am happy that the Federal Government has approved the SUKUK bond, which has almost been over subscribed.
“This will make about N150 billion available to the Ministry of Works and Housing to pay outstanding liabilities and continue with the projects that they have embarked upon, three or four years ago.
“So it is this kind of complimentary funding that makes road construction or road rehabilitation to move forward, but if you rely solely on budgetary provision it is not enough.
“We strongly advocate for public-private partnership where the private sector will team up with the public sector and build roads and introduce tolling so that it can recover whatever they spend in the construction of these roads.
“This is done in most countries where we have standard infrastructure.
“If you go to Egypt, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia, you will see very beautiful roads being constructed.
“It is not done by government alone.
“It is a joint venture between the state and the private sector.”
Aliero said all that was required was an enabling environment and law for people to invest in the construction of roads in Nigeria and recover their money.
He said: “Once the enabling law is there, there will be no problem.
“People will come and invest; we have received a lot of interests from Brazil and Europe that people want to come and participate in the road construction in Nigeria, as long as they are sure that they will recoup their investment.
“The fear is that, the present laws we have now are not good enough.
“So we are working as a legislature to see what can be done to have legislation that will make it possible for either Nigerians or foreigners to come and invest in the road rehabilitation and construction in Nigeria.
“They can then recover their money and leave the infrastructure to the state government or even renew the construction agreement as the case may be.”
On the $311 million Abacha loot returned to the country by the united States, Aliero said it would be used essentially to finance the rehabilitation of the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano, Lagos-Ibadan and Sagamu-Benin highways.
He added: “It will also be used to construct the second Niger bridge, which is now at an advanced stage of completion.
“During the oversight function of the Senate Committee on Works, we were in all these projects and we have seen a lot of seriousness on the part of the contractors, particularly the construction of the second Niger Bridge.
“A lot of engineering work is involved; it is a massive project; it costs well over N250 billion, probably the biggest project in Nigeria today.
“I believe very strongly that if we continue with the funding as arranged by the Federal Government, I have no doubt that the constructors will be able to deliver on time.
“Apart from the recovered funds, which is being channeled into these three projects, we also have the sovereign wealth fund where we have well over $1.5 billion, which will also be used to finance the construction of these three major projects we have in the country.”