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Works Minister Umahi Kicks As Total Contract Cost For Abuja-Kaduna Road Project Rises from N165bn to N1.35tn

Works Minister Umahi Kicks As Total Contract Cost For Abuja-Kaduna Road Project Rises from N165bn to N1.35tn

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The total contract cost for the critical Abuja-Kaduna road which commenced in 2018 has now risen from N165 billion at the time, as the contractors are currently asking for N1.35 trillion to finish the project.
But despite the misgivings by the Minister of Works, Mr David Umahi, he has vowed to complete and deliver the remaining section of road before the end of 2024, even though such promises had been made by the previous government.
Speaking during a meeting with directors of the ministry in Abuja on Thursday, Umahi stated the ministry under his watch was prepared to remove all contractual obstacles and ensure delivery of the project for the benefit of Nigerians before the end of 2024.
“The ministry has some supervision work to be done tomorrow on that road and we will be advised on the real designs of the two sections.
“Funding is also an issue because it is under the presidential development fund initiative got from looted funds. I have had to discuss with Mr president about the importance of the road for all Northerners.
“But I won’t be able to go back to him until we re-scope it because the project was N165 billion before and a review brought the cost to N655 billion “But today, the contractor is asking for N1.35 trillion and the government cannot afford it. 
What they are asking is very wrong. So, they are looking at existing sub-grade and see what we can do about it.
“We are also looking at the first 40 kilometres to be constructed by Dangote under the Tax credit scheme to do it on concrete pavement, but I am very committed to completing that road this year. No matter what happens, that road will be done this year,” the minister assured.
The former Ebonyi state governor said that concerning non-performing contractors under the Highway Development Management Initiative with the private sector, the government was determined to review all contracts that were not seriously being done.
He said the cost, scope, and technicalities of the contracts would be reviewed by the end of January.
The minister said he had asked for a 5 per cent equity contribution or guarantee from the contractors so that he would have the assurance of the commitment of those serious about working.
 On the key areas of focus of the ministry, he said that if the ministry is given N892 billion to carry out its operations, no money would be left unutilised by December 2024.
The reconstruction of the expressway, currently handled by Julius Berger, is being funded under the presidential development fund initiative and is divided into three sections.

Lucky Kenedy

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