August 20, 2017

N12.7 billion budget cut threatens five road projects

N12.7 billion budget cut threatens five road projects... NAIJA INVEST

Five major roads on which construction work is progressing, may have their completion delayed due to a N12.75 billion reduction in the budgetary appropriation to them.

They are the Abuja-Lokoja, Kano-Maiduguri roads, the dualisation of the Obajana road, the Ibadan-Ilorin road, and the rehabilitation of the Shagamu-Ajebandele-Ore road.

These roads have been a cause of concern to many Nigerians because of the increasing deaths recorded on them and their socio-economic significance.

Though Mike Onolememen, the works minister has stepped up efforts to complete all abandoned road projects across the country, analysts argue that inadequate funding would be a major drawback.

Federal lawmakers had cut down on allocations to critical sectors in the 2013 appropriation bill and moved monies to projects and items under their control and manipulation.

One of such is the road sector under the Federal Ministry of Works, from where N12.75 billion was cut from the N38.5 billion proposed for the five roads, leaving only N25.75 for their execution.

Muda Yusuf, Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said cutting infrastructure allocations, rather than increasing at this period of development is a great disservice to the Nigerian economy and people.

“One of the major shortcomings of the Nigerian economy is the poor state of infrastructure, which has made it almost impossible to make any meaningful economic progress. Consequently, the productivity and efficiency of firms in the economy had remained very low and the industrial sector had stagnated,” he said.

The LCCI DG, urging a reversal of the reduction, said significant investments in roads and other infrastructure is critical to tackling the current challenge of unemployment, low productivity and the ravaging poverty.

Informed sources said the National Assembly seems not to be in a hurry to reverse this, as it has not deliberated on the budget since it was sent back by the executive for re-working. The presidency returned the N4.987 trillion budget to the lawmakers on 14 March, 25 days after President Goodluck Jonathan signed it into law.

N12.7 billion budget cut threatens five road projects... NAIJA INVEST

N12.7 billion budget cut threatens five road projects… NAIJA INVEST

Domingo Obende, senator from Edo North, believes that the returned budget was not about the signed 2013 Appropriation but a supplementary budget.

“The document before us is not about the 2013 budget, it is the 2013 amendment bill and not the budget. The budget, as we stand, has been passed. If you ask any ministry, they will tell you they have been getting their allocations, so if they have their quarterly allocation, then you will not say the budget has not been passed”.

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