Relief is on the way for Nigerian roads that were abandoned immediately after the presidential election of 2015.
This is as the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Tuesday, ordered road contractors to immediately return to sites and commence works as awarded to them by the last administration.
He asked them to move their equipment to sites without further delay. This followed the approval of the 2016 budget.
Fashola had met with over 20 construction firms including Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Arab Contractors, Dantata and Sawoe, Reynolds Construction, Stallini, RCC, Gitto and Setraco amongst others in Abuja on Tuesday, assuring them that his Ministries would soon begin to offset some of the debts owed the contractors for various projects they executed across the country.
The Minister noted that his Ministries would ensure the contractors get paid in the funds allocated to them in the 2016 budget soon.
“When the debts are paid, workers who were laid off by the construction companies would be recalled to work as soon as possible. Very soon, in a matter of days, hopefully we will get some funding to disburse to you. What we hope to achieve is to hear from you what the problems are, and when you think you can expect to finish.”
The Minister explained that in disbursing the funds to the contractors, the government has also extracted from them the commitment to go back to their respective sites, using the thousands of recalled workers to complete their projects.
While appreciating the challenges confronting the contractors, the Minister said that with the budget approval, the ministry will not hesitate to offset the existing payments owed contractors as soon as disbursements and releases are made to enable them re-engage their staff and return fully to site.
He thanked the contractors for their endurance and patience,a adding that their understanding to urgently return to site and provide necessary and immediate safety mechanisms to stabilize the roads so as to reduce the suffering of road users, make the roads passable, stem down the carnage and loss of properties.
Meanwhile, the contractors who were owed over N600 billion also promised to improve standard of roads, as well as provide road furniture including signage, kilometre milestones among others.