Contractors working on federal roads in the country are owed N306 billion by the Federal Government, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola has said.
The Minister stated this on Monday in Abuja when he received the Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association, adding that his ministry would have loved to have the N1tn being spent on petrol subsidy.
On the request by the association to toll roads and bridges across the country, Fashola said that a lot of work was ongoing across federal roads nationwide.
He said: “I heard you talk about tolling roads and bridges. Well, as you said, government is actually spending a lot of money on subsidising fuel. And that is a lot of money from government to spend on subsidy.
“I would have loved that that money came to the Ministry of Works, but the numbers I was trying to get for you is that for over four years, between 2015 and 2018, the entire amount we got was not up to N1 trillionin actual cash in this ministry.
“The budget, yes! But not all of the budget is funded. So if we had N1tn to spend on Nigerian roads we would be in a much better position. As of October, we were owing contractors N306bn and more bills are coming in and all we got was N73bn.”
The minister also expressed regrets that despite the very limited resources available for infrastructure development, some Nigerians were kicking against an increase in Value Added Tax, as proposed by the Federal Government.
“And this is the country where some people are of the opinion that the government shouldn’t raise VAT.
“Some people are also of the opinion that government should not even borrow. So I think it is important for those of you here to also come out and take a position”, he said.
He however revealed that government will introduce tolls on the nation’s roads after a clear policy on it had been finalised and made public.
“When it is time to start; of course, we will articulate a clear policy for the information of Nigerians. That is the much I will say about that,” he stated.
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