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States seek takeover of federal roads

To revive the near total collapse of most federal roads, Governors yesterday requested the Federal Government to hand over some critical federal roads in deplorable condition to states so as to revive them from total collapse.

Many of the roads across the country have become death traps due to overuse and poor maintenance.

The request was tabled at the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting at the Villa. It was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Council members suggested that the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing should come up with strategies to regulate the weight of heavy duty vehicles plying the roads, being responsible for the damage.

Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi to State House reporters after the meeting that governors noted that discussions were underway among the states to collaborate with investors and fix the roads under the Public Private Partnerships (PPP) arrangement which will allow states to toll such roads to recover funds expended on them.

He said: “We are highly concerned about the failure of our roads, even after fixing the roads, they would collapse with six months and we identified that tover loading is one of the major factors because you take an axil load in road design.

“Most of the time you don’t use an axial load of more than 35 tonnes but we have noticed that a lot of our trucks carrying mainly fuel do 45 ,60,70 tonnes and that’s a major concern to governors and we said the minister for works and housing should come up with a strategy to regulate the weight of heavy trucks plying the roads which have been fingered as the root cause of road collapse.

“The state governors are very much concerned about these failures, its being agitating our minds and we are thinking about strategies and we are soliciting that federal government give out some of the federal roads to states so that states can fix the roads through investors and toll the roads and we believe strongly that it will be more effective because the number of federal roads that is being handled by the federal government there is no amount of budget that can fix it but if some of these roads are given out to state government and they maintain a handful of it and of course the budgeted funds” he said.

Council therefore resolved that interested states could write to the President requesting approval for takeover of some of the federal roads to ensure proper and efficient maintenance.

He said: “The Minister of Finance had earlier made a presentation on special accounts of the federation and gave us the closing balances.”

It was revealed that Stabilization Account Balance as at 26 September 2017 stood at N4.354,300,295,64k

Development of Natural Resources Account balance as at 26 Sept. held N84.693,588,214,54k, while Excess Crude Account balance as at September 22 stood at $2,309,577,899.02.

Umahi said: “You know there was a gentleman agreement entered into between the Minister of Finance in the NEC and the 35 governors and Lagos is not participating and that is a programme we call budget support and the agreement was because of the downturn of economic challenges that endangers a number of states not being able to pay salaries”

“So, we came to understanding that any month that the total sharable revenue in the federation account is less than N600billion, then the minister of finance will give each state budget support.  We concluded that in the last 12 months and that continued for the second year, states have done very well, some states have been able to pay their accumulated salary debts and then also increase their commitment to infrastructure and generation of revenue.

“From July, that was not paid and in the month of August, I think about seven states were paid because according to the minister, other states did not comply with the set down rules but more states have complied and we have requested that those states that have complied should be paid.

“The good news is that in the month of September, the sharable amount is N630billion so there would be no budget support for the states,” he said.



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