Babatunde Fashola, the minister of works and housing, says Nigerian roads are not as bad as they are portrayed to be.
Addressing state house correspondents on Wednesday after the federal executive council meeting, the former Lagos state governor said most road projects in the country would have been completed but for funding challenges.
“The roads are not as bad as they are often portrayed. I know that this is going to be your headline, but the roads are not that bad,” he said.
“When I come here to announce that a particular amount was approved for a contract that doesn’t mean the amount has been paid contrary to what you suggest.
“You are mindful also that minister of finance, different arms of government are escalating the fiscal challenges we face as a nation in trying to fund the budget.
“You are also mindful that the last few budgets in Nigeria for almost 20 years have been deficit budgets and these are terminologies that are realities and I think we should acquaint ourselves with if we are not just to report the news but also educate the public.
“You must also be aware that between awarding a contract and also mobilizing to the site there is a distance. First of all, we have to have an agreement that is the relationship between the ministry of works or any other ministry and the ministry of justice, then there is a role that banks play, they have to give a guarantee.
“Building materials – rocks, laterite, quarry, iron rods have to be ordered, construction companies don’t keep them.
“The process of producing blasting rocks requires approval from the office of ministers of justice and even the office of the NSA to get approval to get dynamite. All of these are the things that go on. So the point that I am making to you is that there is a distance between approval, implementation, actual construction and the result.”
Speaking further, the minister said road construction projects will be continued when the rains are over.
“So what we experienced in this year is unusual, it’s not a good time to be in the transport system. We also want this season to quickly end so that we can go back to work during the dry weather.”
Fashola assured Nigerians of a massive mobilization of contractors for roads rehabilitation ahead of the yuletide season.