Mr Mustapha Shehuri, the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, on Thursday frowned at the slow pace of construction work on the Benin-Auchi-Okene express way.
Shehuri expressed his disappointment when he made an on-the-spot assessment of the 63.7-kilometre road to ascertain the level of work done so far by various contractors handling the road project.
Speaking at section two of the road awarded to MotherCat Plc, Shehuri said he was not happy with the pace of construction work.
“The pace of work here is too slow, the section that still needs your attention is more than the 43 per cent work you have done. Please improve on the work because you are not putting in your best.
“For the past six year, you have only done 13 kilometres out of the 26 kilometres awarded to your company; it is not encouraging.
“Please speed up the work for the good people of Edo, Kogi and Nigerians, especially as the Yuletide season is fast approaching, ” he said.
Shehuri said that all road projects were being funded through the SUKUK bond, adding that government was still looking for other sources to fund road construction in the country.
“Construction is capital intensive and the financial capacity is not there. We are looking at Private-Public Partnership (PPP) to be able to carry road construction throughout the country.
Explaining the rationale behind the delay, Mr Joubran Saadah, the Project Manager of MotherCat handling section two of the road between Okene and Auchi, said the major challenge delaying the project was funds.
“Another challenge that we have is that we do not have right of way in about 14 kilometres of the roads. We still need to relocate and pay compensation.
“The contract was awarded at the cost of N10.7 billion and only N3 billion was released. The level of work done so far is about 43 per cent and the project is expected to be completed in 2020.
“We have also received a letter from the Ministry directing us to rehabilitate failed portions of the existing road and we have started the rehabilitation work even though we have not been paid.”
“We will ensure that the roads are motorable before the Yuletide season.”
Mr Oke Owhe, the Federal Controller of Works in Edo, told the minister that the road was awarded in 2012 and construction work began in 2013.
He said the release of SUKUK funds in 2017 increased the level of construction work on the roads.
According to him, three contractors are currently handling the 63.7-kilometres Benin-Auchi-Okene road project.
They are MotherCat Plc handling section two (Auchi-Okene), Dantata handling section three (Auchi-Ehor) and RCC handling section one (Benin-Ehor).