Uche Usim, Abuja
The Presidential interventions in solving the nation’s infrastructure nightmare have begun yielding fruits as the Federal government on Tuesday flagged-off a 16-kilometre Ofeme community road network in Ohuhu in Umuahia North Local Government, Abia State.
The community road project which is a product of the FG’s Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme is being handled by AG Dangote Construction, a subsidiary of Dangote Group.
Among other advantages, the Tax Credit Refund Scheme, enables the private sector to invest in road construction, makes it possible to upgrade access road to industrial and manufacturing clusters and reduce the cost of transportation which results into a reduction in the cost of food and other services, thereby curbing inflation.
Speaking during the flag-off ceremony in Ofeme, the Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelemah, lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the road project, adding that it would boost economic activities within the community and its environs.
The Minister, who hails from Ofeme autonomous community of Abia State, stated that he was vindicated for accepting to be a minister under Buhari’s administration, stressing that his appointment was greeted with skepticism.
He said: “I am very happy that Mr. President approved the construction of this road. When I joined this government, some people were asking me what I stood to gain from it. The Bible says the end of a thing is better than the beginning. It is our time to shine. It is our time to benefit from the government at the centre.”
The Minister called on his people to give the contractor the needed cooperation to enable it to complete the road project in a record time of one year stated in the contractual agreement.
Also speaking, the Federal Controller of Works, Abia State, Engr. Nwankwo Chuwudike, who represented the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Raji Fashola, noted that the road construction marked the fulfillment of the Buhari-led administration to accelerate road infrastructure in the South East in particular, and the country in general.
He said the road would not only enhance the standard of living of the Ofeme community, but it would also lead to a reduction in the cost of transportation and ultimately help in poverty reduction.
Calling on Ofeme people to own the project, he added: “Let me use this opportunity to appeal to all road users, the youths of this community to be supportive, patient and mindful of road diversions during construction, while we hold the contractors to their bod of timely and quality delivery of this service.”
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari recently signed the Executive Order 007 to help tackle infrastructure challenges in the country.
Consequently, Dangote Industries Limited, Lafarge Africa Plc; Unilever Nigeria Plc; Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc; Nigeria LNG Limited and China Road and Bridge Corporation Nigeria Limited; are to execute 19 federal road projects across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria totaling 794.4 km.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed will chair a 13-man Scheme’s Management Committee of various road and bridge projects under the pilot phase.