The Deputy Minority leader, house of representatives, RT. Hon. Toby Okechukwu has stated that the concession of roads will aid in the post construction maintenance of the roads as well as secure continuity of the projects.
Okechukwu, while addressing his listeners, alongside Hon. Uche Anioke, during the FREEDOM SQUARE program of Solid 100.9FM, was of the opinion that Nigerians will gladly pay for the toll gate services, given that the roads are constantly in perfect shape.
He Said, “We must appreciate the responsibility of government, it is their duty to discharge those roles not minding who is president or in any ministry.Whether in opposition or not, we discharge our duties according to the need of Nigerians.”
“Most of the road projects currently ongoing in the South east were already in motion, nobody suddenly remembers you. When we see a need, as a representative, we move, walk your talk until you ensure that some of these things take place. One of the projects in Enugu, the road from 9TH miles to 82 division has been awarded to RCC due to their technical approach to avoid quick deterioration of the roads, work will commence after the Easter festivities.”
“Some of our projects are affected by season and funding. After the construction, the next step is road management, to ensure longevity and sustenance, there is always this misconception of roads in Nigeria. When you delay so much in construction, the starting point begins to develop pot holes while the rest of the roads are still being newly constructed. So there is need for a framework for effective maintenance.”
“When we make emphasis on job creation, it is not done by contract, rather by maintenance. If you concession a road for 35 to 60years, you have invariably created jobs for a whole lot of engineers and Administrators who will be working on the road till the exhaustion of their working life span.”
“Essentially, it is important that the post construction management of these roads are taken seriously, it is incumbent on government to ensure that. We have moved several bills to that effect, including the road fund bill as well as federal roads authority bill. These are necessary legislations to give legal frame work to these roads.”
“Funding has proven to be the major problems of our road projects in Nigeria. The contractual commitment of road construction in NIgeria is over Four trillion naira, but when a budgetary provision of 200-250 billion is made, it stretches the construction years to more than 10 years for one road, so we ned to find an alternative solution to keep the construction ongoing. The funding is not there, even when you borrow, it is cheaper for our people to have these roads in constant good shape than wasting time and resources on bad roads.”
“The road fund bill as well as federal roads authority bill will bring a cure to this, though mr. president did not sign off on them the last time. Something has to be done to ensure that the roads are adequately maintained. We have some sort of concession of 12 roads throughout the federation but there is no legal framework backing it. it is agood policy but it needs to be backed by law, so that no one steps in and discards it in a whim. In other jurisdictions, we see tolls being paid. first, it creates jobs, also it makes road usage cheaper.”
“Considering the manhours, the petrol, the wear and tear, the vehicle body damage in amongst other resources. Bad roads are too consequential to the citizens. It is cheaper to pay tollgate fees on smooth roads, than constantly spending on outrageous amounts of fuel and vehicle repairs.”
“The concession will bring back the tollgate system, our people will be willing to pay the fees, given that the roads are adequately and constantly maintained.”