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38 toll gates to be reintroduced on Nigeria

Abuja – Nigeria’s Power, Works & Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola said Thursday, that arrangements have been concluded to reintroduce toll gates in 38 points across the country.

The minister said that the reintroduction of the toll gates by the Federal Government will be consummated after completion of major highways.

Fashola who revealed this when he appeared before the country’s Senate Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) in Abuja yesterday, said the toll gates are to be managed by the private sector.

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He told the lawmakers the government also plans to design a software that would monitor vehicles passing through the roads. And road users would also be able to pay toll through alternative electronic channels, like their phones, explaining that the toll collected would be used for maintenance of the highways.

The triple portfolio minister said, “We have concluded plans to reintroduce toll gates across the country and we have finalised the design.

“It will be managed by the private sector and it will be located in the old places, 38 points across the country “We are only waiting for the completion of those roads before we introduce the toll gates.

He appealed to the Committee to help revise the existing procurement law in order to fast-track contract approval by the government.

In his remarks, FERMA Committee Chairman Senator Magnus Abe noted that lawmakers, who are the true representatives of the people, are often sidelined by heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) when mulling siting of projects.

Abe said: “As elected representatives of the people if the Federal Government is doing anything in our areas, our inputs are hardly needed. We will then have to fight for relevance.

“We are meeting you because of the challenges FERMA which is under your supervision is facing. Is this agency relevant in the scheme of things in your ministry? We need you to touch on the core challenges of this agency.”

Fashola then announced to the committee that on budget release to FERMA, out of N25 billion budget for the agency in the 2017 Budget, only N800 million has so far been released to the agency by the Ministry of Finance.

He admitted that the worst roads are located in the Southsouth and Southeast geopolitical zones, adding that an audit of bad roads showed that some of the roads were built before the 1967-1970 civil war.

The minister, who assured that efforts are on top gear to fix the roads, also said that the N100 billion sourced through the Sukuk Bond was yet to be released to his ministry to carry out 25 major road constructions in the six geopolitical zones of the country.

He said that FERMA could be more effective and efficient if overhauled and compel to limit its operations to the core mandate of maintaining federal roads.

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Fashola said: “FERMA can be the largest construction company in the country. It depends on what we are willing to put into the agency. In the past, FERMA collected monies for roads they did not construct. That has to stop with this government.

“We are working with the Army Corps to see how we can develop local content. FERMA can be biggest construction firm. The unemployment challenges we have can be reduced if FERMA is busy is every state.”

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