The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Works and Housing, the Federal Inland Revenue Service and other relevant stakeholders to explore Executive Order 007 to provide an alternative funding source to finance the reconstruction of Bida–Lemu–Wushishi–Zungeru Road in Niger State.
Executive Order 007 of 2019 is on Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme.
Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Musa Abdullahi, had at the plenary on Tuesday moved a motion titled ‘Need to Provide an Alternative Funding Source for the Reconstruction of Bida-Zungeru Road in Niger State.’
Abdullahi, who is representing Bida/Katcha/Gbako Federal Constituency in Niger State at the House, noted that the 92km Bida–Zungeru ‘Trunk A’ road, which links the North to the South-West, was first constructed by Costain West Africa in 1962 in the defunct First Republic, and reconstructed by the General Ibrahim Babangida-led regime in 1989.
The lawmaker also noted that apart from the recent maintenance on failed portions of the road through the COVID–19 intervention by the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, “no rehabilitation has been carried out on the road and its bridges (one–lane bridge) for over 30 years.”
He said, “The House is aware that Zungeru town is host to the ongoing $1.3bn, 700 megawatts hydroelectric power station project embarked on by the Federal Government of Nigeria, which forms part of the Federal Government’s strategies to reposition power generation in phases in the country and upon completion, will have the recognition of a strategic national asset.
“The House is also aware that Bida to Zungeru is a major rice belt, with potential for other agricultural produce that contributes to the country’s drive at food security.
“The House is concerned that the road leading to the Zungeru Hydro Dam is in a total state of disrepair, which often results in road accidents and heavy post-harvest losses, thus, lowering the ability of farmers in the communities to monetise their farm produce.
“The House is also concerned that despite the approval of the Minister of Works and Housing for the redesign and reconstruction of the road, the amount captured in the 2023 Appropriation Act for the road is grossly inadequate and cannot make any significant impact on the project.”
Abdullahi stressed that if the Bida–Zungeru road was reconstructed, it would enhance the western link of the country to the Zungeru hydropower project, which will generate 700 megawatts of electricity, close to 10 per cent of the nation’s total domestic energy need, and positive impact on the country’s GDP through enhanced agricultural productivity and commercial activities.”