The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Thursday said his ministry had received the required authority to spend on road projects.
According to him, the government will pay more attention to roads with the highest traffic, citing the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway as an example.
The Federal Government had on Tuesday announced that so far it had released N280bn from the N350bn set aside for capital projects as contained in the 2016 budget.
“We have sent about N280bn for projects that have been scrutinised and the release will be for special projects,” the Minister of State for Budget and Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said in Abuja.
Speaking in Abuja on Thursday at an event organised by the Kukah Centre, Fashola said, “There’s a saying that Fashola is not doing anything, but I’ve only been here for seven months. I just received the authority to expend money two days ago; so, without the budget, there is no magic that one can do.
“What we have started to do is to persuade contractors who believe that this administration has an integrity as laid by the President and some of my colleagues, because they believe that if we commit to it, we will do it. So, some of them have gone back to start work.
“They had contracts awarded to them before this administration came for which they were not paid. But on the strength of the pedigree of this administration, they are willing to go back to start work. And what that means also is that people that were laid off, those who lost their jobs can go back and say we now have our jobs back.”
On calls that the Federal Government should cede some of its roads to the states, Fashola explained that although it was not impossible, such a decision would have to be taken by the Federal Executive Council.
He said, “For the question on quarterly review over ownership of federal and state roads, we are already getting applications made by some state governments about some roads that are now essentially township roads because of the way they are located.
“And because those assets belong to the Federal Government, the approving authority is the Federal Executive Council chaired by Mr. President himself.”