The Federal Government of Nigeria has released N20billion for the completion of the East-West Road.
The 657-kilometre dual carriage stretching from Calabar, the Cross River State capital, to Warri, the Delta State capital, was awarded by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 2006 but remains uncompleted.
Niger Delta Affairs Minister Godswill Akpabio, directed contractors handling the project to return to site “for the speedy completion of the project”.
He spoke when he met with the contractors handling Section I-IV of the road.
According to the minister, the directive was in line with a Presidential order that Section IV of the road be completed on time.
He said: “The Ministry will soon come out with a plan of releasing N20billion to the contractors after signing the tripartite agreement in line with Presidential directives, which transferred the project to the Presidential Infrastructural Development Fund (PIDF) under the NSIA.
“The project, first awarded in 2006, was scheduled for completion by the end of 2010, but this could not be achieved due to inadequate funding.
“The physical progress of the East-West Road when the project was transferred to the newly created Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in 2008 was just eight per cent under the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
“However, additional funding received between 2012 and 2015 from the African Development Bank (AFDB) and Subsidy Reinvestment and Development Programme (SURE-P) enabled the completion of two sections, which are now ready for commissioning.
“The outstanding sections and recently awarded upgrade contracts were rescheduled for completion by 2020.”
Akpabio said the “overall project achievement” stands at an average of 76 per cent of the 676km (338×2) carriageway for Section I-IV.
Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) Managing Director, Uche Orji, said his agency would manage the PIDF, which was set up by the President in 2018 to manage key projects, such as the East-West Road, Abuja-Kano Highway, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Third Niger Bridge and the Mambilla Power project.
He explained that for the projects to be viable, they would be tolled in line with a tripartite agreement.