The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, says the Federal Government has not done enough on road projects. She said this yesterday while briefing State House reporters after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
“We have a lot of roads in the country but not every road you see is a responsibility of the Federal government. The major arterial roads are the ones that are the responsibility of the federal government. Majority of the roads in the country are within the purview and responsibility of States as well as local governments. “Have we done enough? No, not yet, that is why we are trying to do more including raising special funds to make sure that roads and such other infrastructure are being addressed.”
She said in the past two years, the government had issued Sukuku bonds. “In 2017, it was for the construction of 25 roads. In 2018, 23 roads and there is also another one that is being processed.” Responding to a question on a statement recently credited to the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, that his ministry could not get all funds required to fix roads, Ahmed admitted that the government had not implemented the budget 100 percent.
She, however, stated that the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing as well as the Ministry of Transportation always got priority attention whenever funds were released for capital projects.
Her statement is a subtle contradiction to statement made credited to the Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola who was quoted recently as saying that Nigerian roads were not as bad as people claimed
According to her, although the fiscal space is tight and resources limited because revenues are “on the performing”, when there are have resources and funds to release, “the highest proportion goes to Power, Transport, World and Housing.”
She said her ministry planned to release up to N900bn for capital expenditure by December. She said N650bn had been released since President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the release of N600bn for capital expenditure in October when he submitted the 2020 budget to the National Assembly. Ahmed said the FEC approved a memo on additional capital increase of 3,230 shares for Nigeria at the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development. She said Nigeria held 16, 187 shares at the IBRD prior to this period in the largest development bank in the world owned by 189 member countries, adding that the total value of the shares was $50.6m