The Federal Government is making judicious use of loans collected to construct, repair and rehabilitate infrastructure across the country, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has said.
Mohammed noted that even though the government was collecting loans spanned over the next two to three decades, the infrastructure being constructed would last far longer than that.
“Yes, we are taking loans. We are also making judicious use of the loans. And while these loans have a life span of 20 to 50 years, the roads we are constructing will have 50 to 60 years’ lifespan and outlive many of us,” he said while accompanying the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola on inspection.
According to the Punch, Lai Mohammed, and the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, George Akume accompanied Fashola on an inspection of the on-going Loko-Oweto Bridge.
The works Minister, corroborating Mohammed’s statement, noted that about 40 major bridges across the country are undergoing construction, repair or rehabilitation in spite of the very limited resources of the government.
Some of the bridges as listed by Fashola include the Second Niger Bridge, the Ikom Bridge, and the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.
There is also the Murtala Mohammed Bridge in Koton Karfi, Chanchangi Bridge in Niger State, the Tambuwara Bridge in Kano, the Isaac Boro Bridge in Port Harcourt and several others.
“This government in spite of very limited resources and having to borrow is simply doing almost the near impossible in terms of infrastructure.
“Mr President continues to give his support and commitment to infrastructure. His understanding of the purpose of infrastructure for growth and development is very clear.”
Why this matters
The Loko-Oweto Bridge runs across River Benue and when completed, it is expected to reduce travel hours for road users cutting off about four to five hours.
“For someone coming from Cross River to Abuja by road, ordinarily he will have to go from Calabar to Ikom, Ogoja to Katsina-Ala and then join Markudi, then through Lafia, Keffi and Akwanga into Abuja. But now you have a bifurcation through Oweto to Nasarawa,” Fashola explained.
The federal government had recently come under heat from organized labour and civil society groups in the country over the loans taken from China and other countries and international bodies, for the execution of infrastructure projects.
A coalition led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, recently called on the Federal Government to make full public disclosure of all loans obtained by the country, the terms and conditions especially the terms and conditions.