N250bn required annually to manage highways – FERMA

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Tunde Ajaja

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, Mr Nuruddeen Rafindadi, said on Tuesday that the agency would need between N200bn and N250bn annually to keep the federal highway network in manageable condition.

He lamented that about 80 per cent of federal roads across the country were built about 30 years ago and had exceeded the 15 to 20 years’ lifespan they were designed for, noting that the agency only gets about N35bn to N40bn capital budget, which is inadequate.

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Speaking at a virtual stakeholders’ seminar on Tuesday, Rafindadi said efforts needed to be made to rehabilitate the roads as continuous repairs would be tantamount to flogging a dead horse.

He pointed out that out of the 200,000km road length that Nigeria had, about 36,000km were gazetted as federal roads, 32,000km were under the state governments with the remaining 132,000km being under the purview of local governments.

He said even though federal roads only represented about 18 per cent of the total road length, they were the most important asset of the road transport infrastructure in the country.

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He said, “People ask me how much exactly we need? Today, we have a capital budget of about N35bn to N40bn. We need N200bn to N250bn capital annually to keep the Nigerian federal highway network in manageable condition

“That does not preclude occasional events of disaster that happen because of failure of road sections that have totally failed. But that gives an idea of what we are talking about.

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He stressed that the role of FERMA was routine, periodic and preventive maintenance of the roads and did not include construction, reconstruction or rehabilitation.

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