AfricaTraffic & Roads

FG: More SUKUK fund coming as road projects’ll resume

By Oluwaseun Sonde

Nigerian Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has assured Nigerians that work on road projects being funded through the SUKUK would soon witness an increase in pace as government is set to release the SUKUK fund for 2021 and 2022.
Fashola gave the assurance, Thursday, while speaking to journalists after inspecting the ongoing Dualization of the Kano – Katsina Road Phases I and II in Kano and Kaduna States in response to a question on the funding challenges faced by the contractors handling such projects.
The Minister said, “The Minister of Finance has told us that very soon SUKUK Fund for 2021 and 2022 will be ready for release and that will be in a couple of weeks from now, so that all of the backlog of funding  on Works and certificates that have accrued will be paid and work can continue.”
The Minister expressed satisfaction on the the progress of the project which was a single carriageway before the decision of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to expand it to a dual carriageway thereby making it more efficient for the increased volume of traffic in that area.
On the Issue of compensation for the people affected by the project, Fashola said, ” That is essentially a state government responsibility because of the power granted to the state under the constitution with respect  to land control and what we need really is the right of way, this is the cooperation needed from the states.”
He however expressed confidence that the challenge of compensation will soon be over with the assurance given by the Kano State Government that steps were being taken to settle it and hoped that the Katsina State Government would do the same.
He explained that the reason why some Sections of the roads were skipped was because of the pending issues of compensation, adding that as soon as they were settled, the contractors will return to those portions to do their work.
The Minister described the road as strategic because it is serving  the biggest grain market in the country from where goods are moved to as far as Libya.
On the economic and social significance of the roads to the people, Fashola said when contractors get money they pay their own suppliers like those who supplied asphalt, crush stones, sand  and so on thereby redistributing the wealth of the nation around the economy and creating employment in the process. 
Fashola said when the President said he was going to take one hundred million people out of poverty, he was referring to the employment that would be generated through investment in infrastructure development among others.
He stated that with the support of the President his Ministry will continue to implement programmes that will engender the distribution of the wealth of the country to people at the lowest bottom of the pyramid.
” These were the things the President referred to when he said he wants to remove 100 Million people out of poverty,” he said 
  “As you build efficiency, you are building prosperity. Even though the President can not reach physically everyone individually,  he is having a handshake with the people through infrastructural development.”
Earlier, the Federal Controller of Works in Kano State, Engineer Yahaya Baba Ali informed the Minister and his entourage that the dualization of the 73 kilometres  Kano – Katsina Road Phase I begins from  Dawanau roundabout in Kano and terminates at the Katsina border. The road, he said serves the biggest grain market in the country which is located at Dawanau in Kano State.
Engineer Ali also informed the Minister that the contractor had completed work on the construction of additional carriageway, while the reconstruction of the old carriageway had reached 30 percent.  
The representative of the CCECC, the construction company handling the project, Mr Ren Shaoshuri gave the assurance that the project which had reached 83 percent will be completed on target if funding is provided. 
Engineer Goni Tahir, Federal Controller of Works in Katsina State also assured the Minister that the contractor was ready to deliver the Phase II of the project with improved funding. 

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