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Monday , 23 July 2018

Saraki replies Fashola for raising false alarm on slashed N11 billion

Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday justified the slashing of the Lagos-Ibadan highway budget.

At the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja Dr. Saraki said there was the need to allow private sector participation in a road as important as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

“Government alone cannot reduce infrastructure deficit,” he said.

Minister of Works, Power and Housing Babatunde Fashola raised the alarm that the National Asssembly slashed N11 billion off the N31billion approved in the 2017 budget.

He was attacked by the lawmakers. Senate Appropriation Committee Chairman Danjuma Goje asked Fashola to say if he was tired of the job given to him.

House of Representatives Media Committee Chairman Abdulrazak Namdas, said the National Assembnly slashed the road’s budget because the proposal by Fashola’s ministry was lopsided in favour of a section of the country.

But the Senate President yesterday said: “We are really pushing the idea of, particularly, the Lagos-Ibadan road, that appropriating that project from the budget does not show seriousness.

“This is a road that is very viable; that is centre of the commercial activity and we should see how private sector can participate.

“For example, even if you go by the budgetary allocation on that road, last year was N30 billion, this year, after back and forth, we took it back to N20 billion.

“This was done so that if they don’t find private funding, we will take it up,’’ he said.

According to him, even if the N30 billion was provided, it will not be enough because that road needs about N100 billion to be completed.

“So, the point I’m making, which I want to emphasise, is that it is the kind of laws and policies that we pass that will encourage private sector that will make the infrastructure deficit to reduce.”


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