By Rotimi Ijikanmi
The Federal Government has set aside $1.3 billion (about N468 billion) from the National Sovereign Investment Fund to finance five critical infrastructure projects, among which are the second Niger Bridge, the East-West Road that links all Niger Delta states and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Sunday when he appeared as guest on a Nigeria Television Authority programme, “Stepping Up”.
The minister said two other projects to benefit from the fund are Abuja – Kano expressway construction and the Mambilla power project.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was committed to infrastructure development across Nigeria and would continue to revive and complete all abandoned projects inherited from previous administrations.
“We believed that rather than starting new projects, it will benefit Nigerians to complete all inherited abandoned projects.
“To appreciate the commitment of the administration to infrastructure: In 2014 Nigeria spent N14 billion on transportation, N34 billion on water resources and agriculture and N106 billion on power works and housing.
“In 2017, this administration spent N107 billion on transportation, N130 billion on agriculture and water resources and N325 billion on Power, Works and Housing.
“The administration, in a manner unprecedented in the history of the country, spent a total of N2.7 trillion on capital projects in 2016 and 2017 alone,” he said.
The minister listed the Oyo-Ogbomosho expressway being funded by Sukuk bond, the 240km Enugu Port Harcourt roads among the numerous ongoing projects of the government.
He said the administration had completed the reconstruction of the failed Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa road which had been abandoned for over 10 years.
The minister identified the 69 Federal Government ongoing projects in the South-East region, adding that the administration was miffed by the false allegation that the region was abandoned in infrastructure development.
Mohammed said the 156km Lagos -Ibadan standard gauge rail project is ongoing.
He said the government in April signed an agreement with a consortium led by General Electric to revamp the 3,500 km narrow gauge between Lagos and Kano.
The minister said the 49.2 km Abuja light rail project was recently commissioned by the President.
“When we came in the light rail project was 53.8 per cent completed. Within 18 months we are able to complete it 100 per cent.
“This is the first integrated rail transportation mode in Africa that allows transportation by rail from the city to the airport to go by air.
“It is being run by two coaches now and the government has placed order for 48 more coaches to cover the entire Abuja.
Mohammed said the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge was working and the government had in the pipeline, rail projects for all parts of the country.
The minister said the Buhari government was on track and would continue to develop critical infrastructure for national development.