The Supervising Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Arch. Ishaku Darius, has said that the East-West Road project is 70 per cent completed after an assessment of the level of work done by the contractors, adding that the road would be completed in the first quarter of 2015.
While defending the 2014 budget of the ministry at the National Assembly, Ishaku said the road would not be completed in 2014 due to shortage of funds. The ministry has a budgetary allocation of N49 billion in the 2014 fiscal year.
“We cannot deliver East-West road by December this year due to funding gap. Because of shortfall, we will not be able to commission this project by December unless there is additional funding,” he told the Senate Committee on Niger Delta.
According to Darius, “the 338 dual carriage project had various level of completion stages, Section 1 Warri-Kaiama 87.4Km in Delta State,” he said was 78 per-cent completed. “Section II Kaiama – Port Harcourt (101Km) in Bayelsa/Rivers States, was 42 per-cent completed. Section 111 and IV Eket – Oron (51Km) in Akwa Ibom State, were also 42 and 68 per-cent completed,” he said
The Supervising Minister said that the ministry has constructed 38 out of the 42 bridges designed for the road. He added that, the ministry also constructed over 900 culverts out of the 1,000 designed for the road and that the culverts spanned from 70 meters to 850 meters.
Darius further said that the federal government in addition to the annual budget for the project has committed the total sum of N250 billion under the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment programme (SURE-P) from 2012-2014 .
He added tha the ministry also got loan of $300 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB). “About 50 per-cent of this loan had been utilized in the 2013 financial year whereas the balance would be release in 2014,” he said.
The ministry in 2008 initiated skills acquisition centres and 40 housing projects in nine states namely Delta, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Cross River, Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo, Imo and Abia. The Supervising Minister stated during the briefing that the skill acquisition centres in the 9 states, were at 58.1 per-cent completion levels.
He said the contractors handling the skills acquisition centre in Edo state were laid off for non- performance, and the Ministry has also contracted the same job to a more reliable firm.
Darius, added that, the 40 housing project located in the same states had also gone to 70.8 per-cent completion levels and in two months time they should be commissioned.