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Project execution under Tinubu more cost-effective: Umahi

The reconstructed Third Mainland Bridge

By Tochukwu Bliss, Abuja

The Minister of Works, David Umahi, has said that despite the skyrocketed cost of materials in the construction industry caused by the dynamics of commodity price inflation and supply chain disruptions, the President Bola Tinubu’s administration has remained unmatched in prudence, cost effectiveness, speedy and quality delivery of road projects.

He made this comment during his inspection visit to the on-going rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway section 4 (Aba -Port Harcourt) handled by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Ltd (CCECC) on Monday.

The Minister, an engineer, who also visited a number of project sites, said the Tinubu’s administration is committed to a diversified and sustainable economic future of Nigeria, according to a statement by the Special Adviser (Media) to the Minister, Uchenna Orji.

This, he said, is being done in the works sector through aggressive infrastructure development that would provide access to trade, tourism, industrialisation and safety, especially along the local economic corridors.

The statement listed some of the sites visited to include:

  • the construction of a 23-span flyover bridge project at Eke-Obinagu Junction (NNPC Depot), along Enugu Abakaliki Road, Enugu State handled by Reinforced Global Resources Ltd;
  • the rehabilitation work at the collapsed bridge site at the New Artisan Bridge near NNPC mega fillings station Enugu Capital City, Enugu State handled by CCECC;
  • the rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway Section 3, Enugu-Lokpanta handled by CGC;
  • the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway section 2 (Umuahia Tower-Aba Township Rail/Road) in Abia State, handled by the Arab Contractors; and,
  • the reconstruction of the dualized 15km section of the East-West Road section III: (Eleme Junction-Onne Port in Rivers State being executed on reinforced concrete pavement like the coastal road) handled by RCC.

I will tell you the economic benefits of the project and how the coastal road is tying the entire country together. It’s not tying just South-South and South-West. It is tying the North and South together.

Coastal road projects

Reacting to a statement credited to a former Vice President of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar on the 700km coastal road projects, the Minister described the analysis he made on the cost and the economic importance of the highway project as a gross misrepresentation of facts, and figures and a ploy to mislead Nigerians. “He doesn’t understand figures,” he said.

Mr. Umahi continued: “I am going to run figures for him to understand, and he will understand how prudent the administration of President Tinubu has been. He will understand how prudence is taking the centre stage in this administration.

“The President has once queried me on the cost of on-going projects nationwide. I had to analyse every basic rate of construction materials to arrive at our unit rates. I showed it to Mr. President. He still thinks I should bring down the cost of projects.

“At the same time, the contractors are crying that I am oppressing them so much by reviewing the costs of their projects downwards. They lamented that what they were getting before, they are no longer getting it now. They cried out.

“But when I run the figures, Nigerians will see what this present administration is doing. So, I’m not here to run the figures now. I will do that in a press conference on my visit to Lagos from 10th April 2024 to 12th April 2024.”

On the economic importance of the coastal highway, he stated, “I will tell you the economic benefits of the project and how the coastal road is tying the entire country together. It’s not tying just South-South and South-West. It is tying the North and South together.

“We are starting a project from Badagry to Sokoto, and we have a spur on this coastal route to that route and the African Trans Sahara Road that is passing from Enugu to Abakaliki to Ogoja to Cameroon, which has a spur to the North.”

He added that the third section of the project is starting in Calabar this July.

The Minister commended the pace and quality of work on the projects visited and harped on the need for the contractors to heed the project delivery timeline.

On the progress of work at the East West Road section III, he said: “The reinforcement is very good, the concrete is very good, the speed is not very good, so they have to increase their speed. If RCC doesn’t increase their pace, I will take out a portion of this road and give it to another contractor. We will not want contractors to stay on a job like this 15km dualisation for two years or more.”

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