N113bn needed to complete East-West road – Orubebe

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The Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe, has said that N113 billion was needed to complete the East-West road project.

Orubebe said this when he appeared before the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) to explain the level of execution of the project.

He said 66 per cent of the road, which was awarded in 2006, had been executed but that additional funds were required to ensure its completion.

He said the ministry had so far received N51.7 billion assistance from SURE-P between 2012 and 2013 for the road.

He said that though the funds were judiciously utilised by the ministry, there was still the need for the committee to help it raise more funds.

“Out of the N349.8 billion contract sum, the ministry has paid out N236 billion to contractors. But N113 billion is required to complete the project.

“We are appealing for more funds, particularly from SURE-P, because we are not getting enough funding from the national budget. Please use your good office to help raise additional funds to help us complete this project,” the minister pleaded.

Orubebe said that the ministry, in conjunction with the contractors, was working assiduously to ensure that the project was completed in December.

The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Abdul Ningi (PDP-Bauchi), decried the delay in the execution of the project.

He said that the ministry had not been able to justify the contract cost which was increased from N197 billion to the current N349.8 billion cost.

He said that considering the current cost of the contract, the committee would not approve any further review of the amount to be paid to the contractors.

He directed the ministry to provide the committee with a documented evidence to convince the Federal Government on why it should pay the contractors the reviewed amount.

“For me this road is a serious tragedy because for over nine years, it has remained dormant. Originally it was awarded at the cost of N197 billion but it has been revised to N349.8 billion without anything to show for it.

“The ministry should supply us with detailed documentation to support its request for government to pay contractors the reviewed amounts,” Ningi said.

The chairman said the committee would use its oversight powers to ensure that SURE-P funds injected into intervention projects across the country were effectively utilised for the benefit of Nigerians.

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