East-west To Gulp Additional N36.6 Billion – Minister

The minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Steve Oru, said on Monday that the stretch of 338 km East-West Road which cuts across several states in the South south and South east, requires N36.6 billion for completion by the second quarter of 2015.

The total approved cost for the road is N349.9 billion, out of which N274.7 billion has been released for the commencement of work but only N268.5 billion has been paid to the contractors handling the project.

Oru who was speaking at a tripartite meeting between the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta, the ministry and contractors, said that there still exists a funding gap of N36.6 billion, assuming all funds appropriated in 2014 Budget, including the main budget, Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, the African Development Bank, AfDB, are promptly released.

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He disclosed that a loan of $300 million had already been secured from the AfDB as an alternative funding for the project.

“In order for the project to be completed by the second quarter of 2015, according to the programmes of work and cash flow projections for the four sections, the Federal Government, in addition to the annual budget for the project, has graciously committed a total sum of N81.83 billion to the project under the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) from 2012 to 2014 financial year,” he said.

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Chairman of the Committee on Niger Delta, Warman Ogoriba, observed that there were discrepancies in the contract figures submitted by the minister and the contractors and urged them to resolve the differences.

“We (committee) want to ensure there is a proper reconciliation of all figures…The committee would soon ask the various stakeholders to come back here so that we can screen all the contract figures because what we have now are in variance with what the ministry has,” Ogoriba noted.

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The East-west road which was flagged off during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006, was due to be completed in 2010 but the date has continued to shift forward with each succeeding administration.

The road was conceived as a major federal government intervention to address the infrastructural deficit in the Niger Delta.

The contractors handling the construction are Setraco, Renolds Construction Co., RCC, Gitto Construcauoli Generali, GCC, and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, CCECC.

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