Govt. Has Spent Over N359b On Dilapidated East-West Road – Akpabio

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Govt. Has Spent Over N359b On Dilapidated East-West Road - Akpabio

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has revealed that over 359 billion naira has been appropriated for the construction of the East-West road which has remained in bad shape.

Akpabio said this while responding to questions from members of the House Committee on Niger Delta when he appeared before them to defend the Ministry’s 2022 budget.

He disclosed that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has not spent a dime on the East/West Road construction.

According to him, there is a possibility that the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) will take over the project.

He said if the PIDF is to intervene in the project, it must recover the money it invests in it, being a profit-making body.

Akpabio said: “About N359billion has been expended on the East-West Road in totality, whether it is from NEXIM Bank or SURE-P or Ministry of Niger Delta or AfDB.

“The NDDC has not put N1 in the East-West Road because there has never been any appropriation; they have not put N1; they have put zero because they have not had any appropriation to that effect.

“I think it is true that the government was planning to fund it from the PIDF but that was before I became a minister.

“The 2018 budget had about N19.6billion allocated and released to the Sovereign Wealth Fund. But as of when I became a Minister on the 21st of August 2019, no N1 has been expended.

“So, for almost four years, no work was going on the East-West Road and many of the sections completed started deteriorating.

“That was why in 2020, I applied to Mr President that at least sections one to four should be returned to us to see how we could complete it until we ran into some financial issues. Right now, we are exploring all ways to get out of those issues.

“But recently, Mr President passed the PIDF to us to assist. But it is good to know that the PIDF was set up for profit-making.

“So, if they have to put N1 on that road, they will find a way to recover it, either through tolls or otherwise.”

Some members of the committee had questioned the delay in completing the project, demanding to know how much the government has so far spent on the project and when it will be completed.

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