By Abiemwense Moru
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has said that N10 trillion infrastructural bond was needed to meet up with infrastructural deficit and advance the course of Nigeria’s development.
Fashola made this known on Monday in Abuja at a meeting with members of the House of Representatives Committee on Works to defend his ministry’s 2018 budget performance and 2019 budget.
The minister received legislative commendations from the committee for his achievements so far in the road sector.
Speaking on his achievements, the minister the said while government was constrained to operate within the current budgetary limits, it had considerably scaled up performance, using the Sukuk Bond over which government had no allocation control.
Fashola, therefore, called for a N10 trillion infrastructure Bond which he noted could take care of the nation’s infrastructural issues and deficit going forward.
“If such is created, we can draw from it without resorting to the annual budget, but of course with legislative backing to solve our problems once and for all’’, he said.
The minister, however, expressed confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari’s willingness to sign the Road Infrastructure Fund Bill, provided” the provisions don’t conflict with existing laws governing the sector.”
Lawmakers also took the minister up on his 7-point priorities, noting that the pace of implementation left much to be desired.
They said many roads and bridges across the country had become death traps – failing even while still under construction with many others still waiting for attention.
Addressing the issue of road construction and rehabilitation, relative to the availability of fund from annual appropriations, the committee chairman, Rep. Toby Okechukwu, said the minister had done well.
According to him, the minister has done considerably well in the light of inadequate cash flow from budgetary releases.
The chairman, however,asked the minister to intimate the committee on how the 2019 budget could capture road maintenance in the country, “so that existing roads don’t fail as obtained in the past.”
A breakdown of the 2018 appropriation showed that N715.6 billion was allocated to the ministry, out of which N399.4billion was for capital.
The main Ministry, he said got N56.7billion while Parastatals got N42.639billion, and Overhead for the ministry took N13.23billion, while Personnel cost gulped N17.25billion
On the Implementation, N144.263billion was released for capital, representing 40.4per cent of the appropriation.