Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Thursday said the Federal Government has concluded arrangements to reintroduce toll gates in 38 points across the country.
According to Fashola the reintroduction of the toll gates will be consummated after completion of major highways.
The minister who appeared before Senate Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) told the lawmakers that the toll gates would be managed by private sector while government would design software to monitor vehicles passing through the roads.
He said that road users would be able to pay toll on through their phones.
The Minister said that the toll collected would be used for maintenance of the highways.
Fashola said, “We have concluded plans to reintroduce toll gates across the country and we have finalised the design.
“It will be managed by private sector and it will be located in the old places, 38 point across the country “We are only waiting for the completion of those roads before we introduce the toll gates.“
He appealed to the Committee to revise procurement law in order to fastback contract approval by the government.
On the budget release to FERMA, Fashola noted that out of N25 billion budget for the agency in the 2017 budget only N800 million was released so far by the federal ministry of Finance to the agency.
He admitted that the worst roads in the country are located in South South and South East geopolitical zones.
Some of the roads are said to have been constructed before the 1967-1970 Nigerian Civil War.
Minister assured that efforts are top gear to fix the roads.
Fashola also said that the N100 billion sourced through the Sukuk bond, was yet to be released to his Ministry to carry out 25 major road constructions in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Fashola added, “When we did the audit of our roads, we discovered some sections are bad. Many roads have outlived their lifespans. Many roads in the South East and South South were built before the Civil War. They are among the worst in the country. They need to be replaced.
“Funds generated from Sukuk have not been released because of the conditions tied to it. We will try and repair the roads before people start traveling for the festivities in December. We are doing something about that.”
Chairman of FERMA committee, Senator Abe, had while speaking, said lawmakers who are the true representatives of the people, are usually sidelined by heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government when mulling siting of projects.
Abe said: “As elected representatives of the people, if the Federal Government is doing anything in your areas, our inputs are hardly needed. We will then have to fight for relevance.
“We are meeting you because of the challenges FERMA which is under your supervision is facing. Is this agency relevant in your scheme of things in your Ministry? We need you to touch on the core challenges of this agency.”
On challenges facing FERMA, Fashola said, “One of the reoccurring story of under performance which we inherited is that of Ministerial interference. We have tried to supervise without interfering. As best as possible, we try not to.
“I have tried to enable government see what it is spending in each of the parastatals under my Ministry. In the past, FERMA spent money on areas it had no business with. That has to stop. If you allocate money and it is spent on Local Government roads, it means something is wrong. The core mandate of FERMA is to repair federal roads.
“FERMA can be the largest construction company in the country. It depends on what we are willing to put into the agency. In the past, FERMA collected monies for roads they did not construct. That has to stop in this government.
“We are working with the Army Corps to see how we can develop local content. FERMA can be biggest construction firm. The unemployment challenges we have can be reduced if FERMA is busy is every state.”
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