By Stanley Nwanosike
The Federal Government has assured the people of the South-East of its commitment to completing all ongoing road projects meant to improve their living condition and wellbeing.
Mr Charles Abana, Team Leader, South-East Project Verification Team, Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC), gave the assurance while monitoring and verifying the ongoing rehabilitation of the old Enugu-Port Harcourt Road project.
Abana said that the federal government wished that the projects were completed on time, but owing to the COVID-19 and other economic challenges, the completion time of the projects had to be rescheduled.
“The Federal Government is raising more funds for the projects and it doesn’t mind borrowing to ensure it funds these projects and make the people feel the impact of good governance.
“Recently, the contractor handling the old Enugu-Port Harcourt road received some funding from the federal government.
“As we can see, the contractor is really pushing the work ahead even beyond what has been paid for,’’ he said.
He appealed to the residents to exercise some patience with government to enable it to realise its objective of opening up the agrarian communities with a network of viable and strategic roads, especially in the south-east.
“I appeal to the people to continue to give government and the contractor maximum cooperation as the road project progresses, so that they can reap the benefits of improved socio-economic wellbeing,’’ he said.
He said the team was satisfied with the level and quality of work done so far, adding that the contractor handling the project, Setraco Nigeria Limited, had shown commitment, in spite of shortfall in funding.
Abana, also Head, Legal, Investigation and Enforcement, FRC, said: “The quality of work done here shows the road will definitely last for some good number of years before experiencing breakdown.
“We are happy with the contractor for having confidence in the federal government and continuing work even as it awaits payment for the phases of the work completed and verified so far.’’
According to him, the contractor has given an assurance to complete the main portion of the road before the year runs out, and work on the spur portion by next year.
Speaking, Engr. Fouad Sarraf, Area Manager [South-East], Setraco Nigeria Limited, said that the only challenge of the road project was inadequate funding.
“Government has paid only about two certificates of the over five certificates of the phases of work completed and raised.
“The company is being owed N2.1 billion for work verified and certificated already.
“The residents of this area have been highly cooperative and friendly with our staff as we work daily here,’’ Sarraf said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the road project stretches from Enugu metropolis through Agbogugu community in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State to its border with Abia.
It has spur routes to Mmaku and other communities in the local government area.
The total contract sum of the project is N13.9 billion and N3.3 billion has been paid to the contractor so far. (NAN)