by Laila Ibrahim
The Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen has said despite the falling oil prices Nigeria is not broke, as is widely speculated, insisting that the country has not gotten to a point where it can no longer fund its infrastructure projects.
This is even as he disclosed that the ministry of works has finally gotten the certificate of no objection from the Bureau for Public
Procurement (BPP) for the award of contract for the construction of Abuja-Keffi road and it is now awaiting the President’s approval.
Government is planning an EXIM loan from China for the project.
Speaking against the backdrop of the sundry contracts recently awarded for roads across the country, the minister told journalists that
government cannot but continue to fund infrastructural projects as it helps to catalyse economic growth.
In recent times, Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producing country, mostly dependent on oil, has been hit by the falling oil prices
forcing the government to consider cutting its expenses while considering austerity measures.
“In terms of fallen oil prices, like you said that is a global phenomenon and Nigeria is not broke, the fact that the oil prices are
falling we have not reached a stage that Nigeria cannot continue to fund infrastructure projects in our country,” he said.
He explained that the road projects are not funded in one year’s budget, but spread over several budgets.
The minister also noted that the federal road network had a total assets value of close to
N7 trillion and “we cannot sit down and fold our hands, we must keep renewing our assets, we must keep expanding them if we are to support economic growth in our country and if we are to meet the objective of vision 202020.”
About the Abuja-Keffi road, Onolememen said the Minister of Finance and the coordinating minister of the economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will within the next 10 days lead a delegation to China to finalise the EXIM loan for this particular project among others “and by the grace of God I will be on the team and I am very hopeful that that will signal the beginning of that project. Once we conclude in China it will signal the beginning of that project.”
The Abuja-Keffi road which is a major exit road for road users going in and out of the country’s capital is known for its traffic gridlock, keeping road users on the road for hours on end.