‘We Will Borrow Till May 28 Midnight, Award Contracts’
The Nigerian federal government has defended its recent actions regarding contract awards and external borrowing, just days before President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure ends.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, announced that contracts will continue to be granted until midnight of May 28.
While initiating the N 90 billion upgrade of the 49km Akure/Ado-Ekiti highway, Fashola explained his stance in Akure, the Ondo state capital.
“People are asking why we are still awarding contracts when we have just a few days to go. It is a juvenile conversation. They forgot, among other things, that the term of this administration ends at midnight on May 28,” he stated.
According to Fashola, the complexities of governance, especially regarding infrastructure and public debts, necessitate continued contract awards.
The Minister argued that either borrowing or taxation is the only way to achieve infrastructural development, noting that the highway project’s N90 billion cost will be covered by the NNPC via the federal government’s tax credit policy.
“All kinds of stories have been told about me, but none of them bother me. It is not as easy as it looks,” Fashola said, pointing out that the project will be handled by Samchase Nigeria Ltd. and Kopeck Construction Company and should be completed within 24 months.
Fashola also took the opportunity to critique the Procurement Act, urging the 10th National Assembly to amend it, asserting that the law was stalling the nation’s development.
“That procurement law and the processes that it prescribes are not consistent with the hurry that Nigeria is in for development. Its intention is good, but the processes slow down the country,” he explained.
The Minister of State for Transport, Ademola Adegoroye and governors from both states, praised Fashola’s efforts at the event.
The first section of the road project, awarded to two construction companies for N46.6 billion, will be followed by a second section, costing an additional N49.2 billion.
One contractor will commence work from the Ekiti State border, while the other will start from the Ondo Stateside, marking a collaborative effort to improve the road connecting these two important states.
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