The Federal Government’s debts in the construction industry have risen to N1.1 trillion, newsmen have gathered. Investigation by this newspaper revealed that some states are being owed N400 billion for federal roads and bridges constructed within their territories in the last eight years.

Besides, the Federal Government is yet to settle the debt of over N700 biillion owed contractors for work already executed and ongoing projects.

Consequently, the Federal Government owes both contractors and state governments over N1.1 trillion on federal road projects executed. From a survey of debts owed states by the Federal Government as at January 2016, about 16 states are owed over N400 billion for various infrastructural projects.

Findings by this newsmen showed the outstanding remittance, which the Federal Government needs to pay Ogun State could be N100 billion, Ekiti – N12.2 billion; Plateau – N14 billion; Lagos – N59 billion; Anambra – N25 billion; Ondo – N7.8 billion and Rivers – N105 billion. Other states include Jigawa – N17 billion; Oyo – N40 billion; Kwara – N18 billion; Abia – N10 billion; Cross River – N12 billion and Bayelsa – N8.7 billion, which are all refunds to be collected from the Federal Government.

Claims by other states could not be ascertained as at the time of filing this report. The federal highway network of over 34,000 kilometres traverses the entire country, linking the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

While the Federal Government, through the Minister of Power, Work and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said that it is currently verifying financial claims made by almost all the 36 state governments for road projects they either constructed or repaired on its behalf, Ogun State government, last Sunday, mounted pressure on the Federal Government, demanding the refund of the N100 billion expended on federal roads.

Ogun State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite, an architect, said that the Federal Government owes the state government N100 billion, being the cost so far expended on the construction of federal roads across the state.

Adegbite, on a live radio interview, said the total expenditure submitted to the Federal Government was N200 billion for all federal roads that were planned to be constructed.

He said:“What we have submitted, I mean the total expenditure on federal roads that Ogun State government intends to construct, when we finished, the roads is in excess of N200 billion, but what we have spent now and what we are asking for is just N100 billion.”

Construction companies under the auspices on Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI) had, last year, abandoned their sites and sacked over 65 per cent of their workforce over unpaid N700 billion by the Federal Government.

Other states such as Lagos, Ekiti, Ondo and Osun had, before now, called on the Federal Government to reimburse them for money expended on federal roads without any response from the central authority.

Already, the Federal Government floated decision an inter-ministerial committee to verify states’ claims for refund for their intervention on federal road and bridge projects across the country.

Minister of State in the ministry, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, had embarked on tours of such projects in the respective zones of the country.

A statement from the ministry of power, works and housing confirmed the visits of both Fashola and Shehuri to states in the South-east and Northcentral, amongst others, where they met separately with governors of the affected states.

The breakdown showed that Enugu State has completed 17 road and bridge projects, while Anambra and Ebonyi have executed 13 each and Abia, 11. The total amount being claimed by the states is about N72 billion.

Source: New Telegraph

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