Nigeria

Taraba accuses federal government of re-awarding contract for completed road

The Taraba State Government has accused the federal government of awarding a fresh contract for the reconstruction of a road that the state government has already constructed.

The state government made the accusation on Tuesday through a statement by its spokesperson, Bala Dan-Abu, saying the federal government has yet to reimburse it on its expenditure on the federal road.

The statement was in response to an announcement by the Federal Executive Council after its meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on October 27 that it had given the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) approval to deploy its tax obligations to the construction of 21 roads across Nigeria.

Among the roads named in the arrangement by FEC is the Bali-Serti Federal road in Taraba State.

But the Taraba State Government said it “received with surprise news of the approval” for the award of contract for the road.

“Ordinarily, this development should be a thing of joy for the government and people of the state except that it has given the wrong impression about the present state of the road and the work already done on it by the Taraba State Government on behalf of the Federal Government,” the government statement said.

Mr Dan-Abu said the government “wishes to state categorically and for the avoidance of doubt, that this portion of the road (Bali-Serti totalling 115 Kilometres) leading to Gembu, had earlier been awarded to P.W Nigeria Ltd and reconstructed through the initiative and funding by the Taraba State Government.

“Only a few bridges on the road remain to be completely fixed. We also wish to remind the Federal Government that Taraba State is yet to be fully refunded the money it expended on this portion of the road project.

“The award of a fresh contract for the same project by FEC is not only an unnecessary duplication of effort but also creates the wrong and misleading impression.

“We wish to, therefore, suggest that Taraba State Government be paid its outstanding balance on the portion of the project it has done and allowed to complete the remaining job on the bridges while the Federal Government should embark on the second phase of the road from Serti to Gembu (another 115 kilometres), headquarters of Sardauna Local Government.

“The Taraba State Government wishes to thank the Federal Government for the interest it has shown in this road project and implores it to do everything possible to expedite action on it because it is crucial to the implementation of the Mambilla Hydro Electricity project,” the statement said

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had on October 27 said it had given the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) the approval to deploy some of its tax liabilities to 21 road projects across the six geo-political zones of the country.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, announced this when he briefed State House correspondents after a virtual FEC meeting presided over by Mr Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The minister said the roads would cover a total distance of 1,804.6 kilometres.

He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had signed Executive Order 7, allowing private sector operators to identify infrastructure such as roads for which they would deploy in advance as the taxes that they should have paid.

“So NNPC has identified 21 roads that it wants to deploy some of its tax liabilities to,’’ the minister said.

“So, NNPC has sought and Council has approved today that NNPC deploys tax resources to 21 routes covering a total distance of 1,804.6km across the six geopolitical zones.

“The road projects are nine in the North-Central; three in the North-East, two in the North-West, two in the South-East, three routes- the entire Odukpani-Itu-Ikot-Ekpene road in lots one, two and three now, fully covered.

“Then, in the South-West, you have the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, the Agbara junction, and you also have Ibadan to Ilorin, the Oyo-Ogbomosho section.

“In the South-East, you have the Aba-Ikot-Ekpene in Abia and Akwa Ibom; so that is a major link; then you have Umuahia-Ikwuano-Ikot-Ekpene road again and so on so forth.

“So, in the North-West, it is Gadar Zaima-Zuru-Ganji road and also Zaria-Funtua-Gusau to Sokoto Road.

“In the North-East, it is the Cham-Numan, Bali-Serti and Gombe-Biu Roads.

“The road impacted in the North-Central, include Ilorin-Jeda-Mokwa-Bokani sections one and two; Suleja-Minna sections one and two.

“Bida-Lambata Agaie-Katcha-Baro road and Mokwa-Makera-Tagina-Kaduna border in Niger State, Minna-Zungeru-Tegina road, and Bida-Minna road-all in Niger State,” the minister had said.

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