The federal government has appealed to contractors handling sections one to four of the East-West road to go return to the site, assuring them of funds injection.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani who made the appeal in Abuja recently in a meeting with the contractors said, “We have a responsibility to have this project taken to completion and this responsibility has to be demonstrated with both your commitment and our commitment.”
The Minister told the contractors that the federal government has directed that some funds be injected into the project while sourcing for other means to get funding for the East-West road.
He declared the government’s resolve to pay off some outstanding debts on the road project as a means of revitalizing commitment to the project’s completion.
Usani said: ‘I want to assure you that in the development of the region our commitment will not be slower but be faster and to mobilize you with funds to work as we get releases from the treasury’.
While expressing the federal government’s commitment to complete the East-West road, Usani added that the 2018 Budget for the Project would be well funded.
The Minister, who expressed concern over the deplorable state of some sections of the road while it is still under construction, and requested the contractors to proffer solutions to the failing parts of the road.
"We are very concerned about the state of this project because any project in the world that spans through one full decade without completion has several setbacks and it means the Project itself is near failure", the Minister added.
Usani reiterated that the government was making progress in the entire Niger Delta Region on infrastructure development, stressing that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs was also in serious conversations with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in addressing the challenges facing the Commission in its contractual obligations.
On the issue of complaints by contractors to the Niger Delta Development Commission, the Minister said, ”What we have done was to channel the complaints of contractors to the management of NDDC.
"As much as possible, we do not interfere with the administrative and micro-management of the agency. What we do is to ensure that we guide them along the lines of government policies with emphasis on the development in the region.”
In his remarks, the acting Managing Director of Setraco Nigeria Limited, Dr Ray Chaudhuri called on the government to ensure that the appropriate agencies responsible for road maintenance take proper care of the completed sections of the East-West road.
He added that contractors are eager to complete the project if the government makes good on its promise to fund it properly. Construction companies at the meeting were Setraco Nigeria Limited, Gitto Nigeria Limited and Reynolds Construction Company Nigeria Limited (RCC).