The federal government is determined to outsource repair and maintenance of certain Federal highways, Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola, dropped the hint on Wednesday at the National Assembly Joint Committee on Works.
The concession arrangement which he called, “Highway Development and Management Initiative,” will involve the federal government and private investors which would carry out the development and management of 10 federal highways in the first phase.
According to the Minister of Works, the roads listed for the first phase which he noted could attract N163bn investment included, Benin – Asaba, Abuja – Lokoja, Kaduna – Kano, Onitsha – Owerri – Aba, Shagamu -Benin, Abuja -Keffi – Akwanga, Kano – Maiduguri, Lokoja – Benin, Enugu -Port Harcourt, Ilorin – Jebba.
Fashola who declared that the federal government bought into the initiative in the face of dwindling revenue available to it and a dearth of public funds for road maintenance further hinted that each of the ten roads listed in the first phase would gulp N16billion.
He, however, painted a rosy picture of the gains of the Value Added Concession to include, creation of about 23, 322 jobs in the first phase, provision of streetlights, toll plazas, rest areas, and weighbridge stations.
He said after the first phase, another ten routes would be identified for the second phase.
“The Value Added Concession through the construction of rest areas will reduce fatigue on the highways thereby causing a reduction in accidents as the routes will be better managed and maintained.
“Through the Value Added Concession, there will be job creation in communities that fall along the route which will bring about an increase in rural development.
“Improvement on weighbridge stations will reduce the incidence of roads having to bear loads above their design weight. This will improve the lifespan of the road pavement.”
Asked about the competence of the prospective investors, the Minister assured that his Ministry would carry out due diligence on the applicants for a thorough evaluation of their technical and financial competence.
Individual members of the joint National Assembly Committee on Works commended Honourable Fashola initiative which they described as laudable as they noted that it would enhance development, provide security and jobs for young Nigerians. (Tribune)
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