As if the current cash crunch were not enough, Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has revealed that the Federal Government will require about N2 trillion to complete no fewer than 226 ongoing road projects across the country.
Making this disclosure in Lagos while speaking at a Town Hall meeting organized to brief the public on the activities of the government in the last 11 months, Fashola explained that total amount allocated to all the sectors under his ministry in the 2016 budget was less than N500 billion.
Fashola added that the focus of the government for now would be to complete some of the projects and not to undertake new ones.
“The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing proposed N423 billion at the Federal Executive Council and the information reaching us is that we are not going to get all that.
“Ongoing road projects alone awarded by the government before we came– about 266 roads awarded in the various states– the liability to complete them is about N2 trillion.
“So, when you look at N400 billion, you know that that is not enough, but when you compare what this administration is going to do with the N400 billion, with what the last administration did, you will know it is much progress.
“What the last administration did was to budget N18 billion for all the roads in the country, knowing the liability was in excess of N2 trillion.
“For the three sectors, that is Works, Housing and Power, the total budget by the last administration was N24.5 billion. So, this administration decided to move away from that and that is why we have a figure that may not be enough, but substantial for the sectors”, he said.
In the power sector, the minister said though there were many challenges facing the sector, the government would do everything possible to fulfill its promise to revamp it.
He said the 5,000 megawatts the country was generating was inadequate and explained that the government was completing some ongoing power projects and taking other steps to boost generation.
On electricity metering, Fashola said his ministry was engaging the distribution companies to ensure that they distribute metres to households.
He said it was through metering that consumers could be appropriately charged and that power companies themselves could block revenue leakages.
The minister said government was designing a housing model for the country that would not only take care of the problem of affordability but also take into consideration cultural suitability in every part of the nation.