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FG Releases N17 Billion For Completion Of Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Highway




FG Releases N17 Billion For Completion Of Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Highway

President Bola Tinubu-led government has approved the release of the sum of N17 billion for the completion of the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano highway project, Naija News understands.

The government announced its expectation that all sections of the highway be finished within a span of 24 months.

The Minister of Works, David Umahi, revealed this information while inspecting the Abuja-Kaduna section of the highway.

Accompanied by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Economy, Wale Edun, Umahi stated that the government arrived at this new timeline after reaching an agreement with the contractor, Julius Berger Construction Company.

It is worth noting that the minister had previously pledged to complete the road this year, but now the focus is on ensuring its completion within the next two years.

In October 2022, the former Minister of State, Works and Housing, Umar El-Yakub, had also mentioned that the Kaduna-Abuja highway and Zaria-Kano road would be finalized by early 2023 to minimize inconvenience for road users.

It could be recalled that in April 2023, former Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola acknowledged that the previous administration was unable to fulfil its promise due to security challenges encountered in 2022 and the relocation of certain communities along the Zaria segment of the 265km road project.

Despite the initial plan for the road to be completed, the project extended until the end of Fashola’s tenure, with only the Kaduna to Zaria section being finished out of the three sections, Naija News understands.

Umahi States Reason For Delay

During the inspection earlier today, Umahi attributed the delay to a lack of funds but assured that the government remained committed to completing the road on schedule.

The Minister further mentioned that the approval of the N17bn payment had been granted, and additional finances would be authorized in due course.

“This is the second time I have inspected this road since we came in and it shows you how much Mr President is in touch with happenings all over the country. He directed us to move in and provide lasting solutions here.”

“And I can inform you that The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority has been informed to pay the contractor the outstanding certificate of N17bn. Then another certificate of N23bn is already being processed and so we assure you that funding will no longer be a problem,” Umahi said.

The former governor of Ebonyi revealed the rationale behind the rescheduled date, stating that Julius Berger had committed to finishing 15 kilometres per month, thus necessitating the change.

“We are looking at 24 months to finish the project, it can only be Berger that will finish in 24 months. So with an assured financing model by the Minister of Finance, it will be completed. The total section of 290km dual way is uncompleted but if we look at the total four sections, we are looking at 15km completion every month, which is very serious and a tall order.

“The total road length is 375km, which is equivalent to 750km of dual lane. Now, Kaduna to Zaria is completed. We have only 20km left between Zaria and Kano. We are looking at redesigning it, with concrete pavement. Already the contractor is aware. I know we have the issue differences in terms of reviewing the contract price but we’ve sorted all that out and I’m happy we have progressed. We’ve sent the geotechnical team to re-examine the strength of the subgrade,” Umahi added.

In his remark, Edun emphasized that President Tinubu considers the prompt completion of the road as a paramount objective.

Tinubu recognizes road infrastructure as a crucial factor in rejuvenating and stabilizing the nation’s economy, the Minister noted.

Furthermore, Edun highlighted that infrastructure holds immense importance for this administration and plays a vital role in reducing food prices by facilitating efficient transportation and smooth movement of agricultural products.

Edun said, “As the Coordinating Minister of the economy in line with the mandate of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, we are here to get commitment from the contractor and encourage them.”

“We are headed for a dry season and eventually the harvest season so we want the goods to move freely across the country. That will bring down food prices; that will bring down inflation and then stabilize the economy and then we’ll be doing more.”

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