The Federal Government has disclosed that it spent N178 billion Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, on four major roads and two bridges across the country between 2012-2013.
According to a statement from the ministry, Minister of Works, Arc. Mike Onolememen, in Abuja made the disclosure when he appeared before the Senator Abdul Ningi-led Senate Committee on SURE-P. Before his eventual appearance on Tuesday, the committee had castigated the minister for his failure to appear before it to shed more light on how his ministry spends the SURE-P fund released to it.
The six road projects that gulped the N178bn in a year include Abuja-Lokoja road dualisation, Kano-Maiduguri road dualisation, rehabilitation of Enugu-Onitsha road, rehabilitation of Benin-Shagamu-Ore road, 2nd Niger Bridge and Loko-Oweto Bridge. Giving the figures, Onolememen explained that N85.5 billion was spent on the roads in 2012 from the SURE-P, while Federal Ministry of Works added N61 billion.
Besides, he disclosed that in 2013, N93.4 billion was spent on these roads out of which N67 billion was paid from the SURE-P. He confirmed that construction work on these four critical road projects and two bridges had progressed extensively under the SURE-P and assured that the Abuja-Lokoja road would be completed next year if funds with consistent release of funds.
Making reference to the dualization project of the 200 kilometres Abuja-Lokoja highway, which was abandoned prior to the advent of this administration, Arc Onolememen revealed that the Committee set up to review the road project had reviewed the total sum from N42billion to N116 billion, backed by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) Acts.
He further clarified that the original contract for the Abuja- Lokoja dualization was for one additional dual way without taking into consideration the re-construction of the old alignment.
He explained further that the project had to be reviewed so that a new dual way could be added while the existing old carriageway would be re-constructed since it was already wearing off. In addition, he stated that the road had to be completely re-designed with fresh technical additions like boulders to provide for a quality road project.