Asphalt contractors must sign a 30-year indemnification agreement-Umahi

Sen. David Umahi, Minister of Works, said contractors that use asphalt in road building must sign an indemnification agreement with the ministry for the length of the roads.

Umahi made the remarks during a news conference in Abuja on Monday to lay out the overall direction of the ministry during his term.
He stated that contractors that use asphalt would not be prevented but would be required to sign a durability agreement.

However, the minister stated that the installation of concrete roads would not be enforced on projects that had already been awarded.
He went on to say that contractors would have to guarantee that asphalt roads would survive up to 30 years, but concrete roads would endure far longer.

“We are not stopping asphalt work, but we cannot pay for a job that we know will not last five years.”Contractors hide behind the amusing excuse of overloading since the route is short.

“Nigeria must get value for the money it pays in taxes.” There are many of contractors that undertake dubious work and get compensated for it.

“Aside from the one I did in Ebonyi, the concrete road, when properly done, will last for 50 years, and we have had success where we have done that.”In fact, we completed the Abakaliki Ridgeway Road, which was supported by the African Development Bank, before I left government,” he remarked.

Concerning road finance, Umahi expressed worry that the way Nigeria’s financial allocation was constructed was not motivating contractors to complete federal road projects on schedule.

According to Umahi, the yearly transfer of funding to contractors causes road construction to stall since the contractor only uses a small portion of the funds to acquire raw materials.

He stated that the delay caused contract variation since inflation affected the original sum agreed upon for the project.

“If you pay a contractor N150 million per year for an N600 million road project, he will pocket it while mobilising to the site and doing nothing on the ground.”

“When confronted, he will claim that he has yet to receive the material he requested for outside the country because the money was insufficient,” he added.

He urged the National Assembly to release the over N650 billion it had withheld for various projects around the nation, which he claimed were practically finished but were held up by a lack of funds.

He stated that if these money were not returned, the roads would not be constructed, which would have a severe economic impact.

The minister suggested that members of the National Assembly from various senatorial districts meet with their state governors to identify priority projects that may be finished on schedule.

He proposed for economic trees and cash crops to be planted along roadways to deter kidnappings of civilians.

“Nigerians must get value for their taxes; roads are everything; kidnappings occur where roads are poor; we should clear the bushes and plant cash crops.”

“It is ideal and acceptable, and it should be replicated throughout the country.” “It will put an end to kidnappings,” he remarked.
He said that the ministry will assess the Federal Road Management Agency’s (FERMA) activities to guarantee that any involvement in states would be done with the state government’s participation.

According to him, this would decide the state governments’ focus sectors.

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