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    Roads repair: Senate rejects works ministry’s fresh $434.7m request

    The Senate on Monday turned down a fresh request from the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing seeking approval for projects already captured in the $434.7m borrowing plan of the Federal Government.

    The Borrowing Plan had already been approved by the National Assembly last year.

    The fund was meant to carry out emergency rehabilitation and maintenance of federal roads in the country.

    The Minister of State, Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu, appeared before from the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts seeking fresh approval of $434.7 for the same projects.

    But, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Clifford Ordia, quickly responded that the $434.7m had been approved in the 2016- 2018 borrowing plan by the National Assembly.

    He added that there was no need for the committee to give fresh approval again.

    Ordia said, “Honourable Minister, it is good to be very precise in a situation like this. Like I have told you, as far as the National Assembly is concerned, that $434,700,000.00 has been approved by the National Assembly under the borrowing plan 2016 – 2018.

    “We cannot change it now. If you want to remove it from your system, then you have to formally do what call virement which will now come back again to the National Assembly for approval. It has been approved but they have not accessed it.

    “I want to let you know that after that borrowing plan we have been able to access some money on the institutional strengthening and implementation of policy reforms and the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Development Project Study.

    “You may wish to confirm from the Federal Ministry of Finance for clarification. Concerning the $434.7m, it has been approved by the National Assembly under the borrowing plan and we cannot change it here now.”

    Another member of the committee, Senator Francis Alimikhena, said, “What is expected of the ministry is to brief the committee on the work status of the road enlisted for the amount, not to come up with the same request.”

    The minister therefore promised to interface with the Ministry of Finance.

    He said, “I think the most important thing is that we have not gotten funding. What I mean is that we have not received money and these projects have not taken off.

    “Coming to you (senate) is not a one-off coming. But these clarifications, if we are not able to make it now, we will still come back with them and adjust them to suit the present condition.”

    He listed the projects to include Gombe-Biu road, Calabar Urban-Ekan-Ajaso road, Owerri-Amaraku-Okigwe road, Mokwa-Pezi-Tegina-Kaduna road, Katsina-Gibiya-Niger Republic Border road.

    A document obtained by our correspondent on the issue showed that the $434.7m was part of the $569m Medium Term 2016-2018 External Borrowing (Rolling) plan already approved by the National Assembly.

    Copyright PUNCH.

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