From Jonas Ike, Abuja
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, says Nigeria needs at least N10 trillion bond to develop key infrastructures such as roads and power.
Fashola gave the hint on Monday during a budget defence session with the House of Representatives Committee on Works, chaired by Hon.Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu) at the National Assembly.
The Minister, who was reacting to questions by members of the Committee over failing roads in Nigeria, noted that funding remains a major constraint behind road construction and maintenance.
According to him, only a long term infrastructure bond, backed up with viable legislative framework, would take care of failing infrastructure in the country, and thus drive critical aspects of the economy.
He also advised for caution on the application of the Road Fund Bill, recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, so as not to “raise expectations above realities.”
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“We have to challenge ourselves to access revenue to fund our roads. But since the budget is limited, we must subscribe to realities.
“I want to say that Nigeria needs N10 trillion infrastructure bond, through legislative approval, to effectively fund our roads and power.
“Critical infrastructures, such as roads, are national social investments meant to encourage the growth and development of other aspects of the economy,” Fashola told the lawmakers.
Earlier in a remark, Chairman of the House Committee on Works, Hon. Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), had said the Road Fund Bill provided a take-off point for road funding initiative in Nigeria.
Other lawmakers as Sunday Karimi (PDP, Kogi) and Sani Abdu (APC, Bauchi), both members of the Committee, also raised issues over the Kabba-Obajana, Bauchi-Alkaleri, and Enugu-Port Harcourt roads, saying Nigerians expected miracles from the Minister given his precedents as Lagos governor.
They further appealed to him to ensure that the second phase of the SUKUK bond initiative is directed towards the completion of pending road projects littered across the country.
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