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I awarded over N350bn road contracts –Anenih tells probe panel

Posted by From AMOS DUNIA, Abuja on 2008/06/29 | Views: 2417 |

I awarded over N350bn road contracts –Anenih tells probe panel


Former Minister of Works, Chief Tony Anenih, yesterday disclosed that his tenure as Minister of Works awarded a total of N352, 080,449,699.94 just as he spent a total of N125, 839,073,412.00 before leaving office to take over General Olusegun Obasanjo’s Presidential campaigns in 2002.

Former Minister of Works, Chief Tony Anenih, yesterday disclosed that his tenure as Minister of Works awarded a total of N352, 080,449,699.94 just as he spent a total of N125, 839,073,412.00 before leaving office to take over General Olusegun Obasanjo’s Presidential campaigns in 2002.

Chief Anenih, who stated this on Wednesday when he appeared before the Senate Ad-hoc Committee investigating the huge monies spent on the transportation sector between 1999 and 2008, said the total amount that had cash-backing and released to the Ministry of Works under him was N125, 839,073,412.00.

He said of the amount, payments were made to some states that were owed, adding that the figures were authenticated by the office of the Accountant-General of the Federal and the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“The total balance available to the Ministry of Works and Housing for roads was N123, 240,812,239.00. Note further that of this amount, the sum of N2, 517,424,604.00 stood as balance carried forward leaving the sum of N120, 723,387,635.00. It was this amount that was spent by the Ministry of Works and Housing on roads during my tenure from 1999 to October 2002,” Chief Anenih said.

The former minister, who blame the federal legislators for some of the problems in the road sector, urged the National Assembly to endeavour to always consider the financial and practical feasibility of projects before including them as project in Appropriation Bill submitted by the executive.
The former minister of works further explained that there is a great difference between what was proposed in an Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly and what was approved (appropriated) or what was committed to contracts and what was released to the ministry for the fulfilment of such commitments.

“It is true that between May 1999 and October 2002, the ministry awarded contracts to the tune of N352, 080,449,699.94 that were to last years to complete, including designs, way bridges, consultancy, etc based on approvals. The fact is that only the sum of N120, 723,387,635.00 representing about 34.28 per cent was spent on roads during my tenure from June 1999 to October 2002,” Chief Anenih said.

Commenting on the report of the Auditor-General of the Federation concerning the failure of some roads and bridges built under his tenure, Chief Anenih said the report was deliberately designed to rubbish him.
At this point, the Chairman of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, advised him against turning the matter into a personal war, saying that it was the Senate Committee that demanded for the report from the Auditor-General.

However, the former chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees quickly cut in, saying that “some people have fixed ideas about me, so no matter what I do they would not want to see the good in it.”
This was even as the one time ‘Mr. Fix it,’ took strong exception to the audit report which indicted his management of funds spent.

Responding to the allegations that contracts awarded for roads under his tenure were higher than those of other states and countries, Chief Anenih said: “An aspect of road contract that has often attracted comments from all and sundry is that of the “high cost” of construction of roads in Nigeria. It is worthy of note that Ghana pays more money to construct one kilometre of road than Nigeria,” Chief Anenih said.
“The cost of 50mm Asphalts overlay by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing is $70,000 per kilometre while in Ghana, it is $170,000; resurfacing (double surface dressing) per kilometre in Nigeria, $89,200 while in Ghana he claims it is $160,000; reconstruction US$600,000.00/km (Ghana), S$415,000.00/km (Nigeria); Re-gravelling US$42,000.00/km (Ghana), US$50,400.00/km (Nigeria); and Upgrading from gravel to single surface dressing US$136,000.00/km (Ghana) and US$50,400.00/km (Nigeria),” Anenih said.

He advised that emphasis should be more on the maintenance of roads by ensuring adequate funding, as well as allowing more of private sector participation and institutional reforms in the road sector.

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