From Judex Okoro. Calabar
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, has said completion of the East-West Road by 2019 is not feasible.
Usani said the 2019 deadline is due to excess debt burden incurred on the project so far.
The minister, who disclosed this when he spoke to newsmen, shortly after a stakeholders’ meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Calabar, at the weekend, said even if the Federal Government releases N50 billion for the road, it would not be completed in record time, due to outstanding certificates in excess of N30 billion.
He further disclosed that up till now, the 2017 budget for the ministry has not been accessed, even as efforts are on to secure outside budgetary provision for the project.
“The road was awarded in 2006, between then and as at last year, it was 10 years. Even with the lean revenue and the collapse of infrastructure in this country, between then and now, this government is still doing something on the road…”
Insisting that the ministry attends to road based on the availability of funds, Usani maintained that the current administration has a responsibility to reposition national infrastructure, not just the East-West road.
“In two years, with the efforts we have put in so far, we would have completed section one of the road as the road is divided into five sections.
“I want to inspect section one of it, which is from Warri to Kaima, before we hand it over to the government.”
He said Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has directed the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, to specifically make funds available for the project.
“Recession has led us to where we are and we must be truthful to members of the public,” he added.