Abuja- The Federal Government requires about N921.4 billion to complete the 925 ongoing road projects across the country, the Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, has said.
Onolememen disclosed this on Wednesday while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House, Abuja.
He said the council meeting was largely devoted to the review of the performance of his ministry and its parastatal agencies in 2012.
The minister said that if the deficit would be financed by line budget, it would take about eight years to finance the projects.
He, however, added that the ministry was designing various programmes that would encourage Public-Private Partnership in roads construction and rehabilitation to ensure prompt completion of the projects.
According to Onolememen, only about 65 000 km of the roads in the country are paved with bitumen out of a total network of 200 000 km.
He said that about 35 000 km or about 54 per cent of the total bitumen-paved roads were federal roads.
The minister said that from 2001 to date, the Ministry of Works had drawn up project portfolio in the six geo-political zones of the country to the tune of about N1.39 trillion.
According to him, a breakdown of the portfolio shows that the North-Central Zone has about 31 projects, covering a total length of about 1 054 km at a total sum of N262.3 billion.
``The North-East has a total of 30 ongoing projects, covering a total of about 1 461 km at the contract sum of N332.9 billion.
``The North-West has a total of 23 ongoing projects, covering a distance of about 1 028 km at a total project cost of N255.5 billion.
``The South-East has about 40 ongoing projects covering a total distance of 978 km at a total project cost of about N149.6 billion and the South-South has a total of about 34 ongoing projects covering a distance of about 876 km at a total contract sum of N159.4 billion.
``The South West has about 37 ongoing broad projects covering a distance of about 1 230 km at a total contract sum of N236.9 billion.’’
Onolememen said that in 2012, the ministry selected 80 priority road projects, based on the fund made available, out of which, 32 were completed, while others are at different stages of completion.
He noted that from the N143.59 billion capital budget of the ministry in 2012, N111 billion was cash-backed, while N110 billion was utilised.
The minister said that the ministry had so far received N85.5 billion from the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P.
He said six projects were being funded with the SURE-P money accruing to the ministry, including the Lokoja-Abaji-Abuja Road.
The minister gave assurance that the Lokoja-Abuja Road would be completed and inaugurated before the end of the first quarter of 2014.
He said that the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) in 2012 rehabilitated over 2 000 km of roads and acquired modern road maintenance equipment.
Onolememen said ``the tremendous support the ministry receives from the president has, to a large extent, transformed the roads sector’’.
The ministry, he stressed, would not relent in its efforts toward realising the vision to alleviate the nation’s roads to a level that would contribute to economic growth and national integration.
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, who coordinated the news briefing, said FEC had received the report of a ministerial committee set up by the president to reconcile various professional groups in the health sector.
He said the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, had presented the reports to the Council.
Maku said that after due consideration, the Council had directed that a thorough job be done by the committee to ensure harmonious relationship among the working groups in the health sector.
Others at the briefing were the Minister of State for Works, Bashir Yuguda and the Managing Director of FERMA, Gabriel Amuchi.