Weak governance structure, bane of road management in Nigeria – Saraki
The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, says the management of federal roads across the country has relied on a “weak governance structure”.
Saraki made this known in Abuja on Monday at a public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Works.
The public hearing is on “the Federal Roads Authority Bill, the Infrastructure Development Commission Bill and the Motion on the Need for the Establishment of Toll Gates on Highways”.
According to Saraki, Nigeria has a total road network of nearly 200,000 kilometres, out of which 16 per cent are federal roads.
“Unfortunately, our federal roads are largely dilapidated and have been unable to serve effectively as economic artery on which the development of the country and the general wellbeing of Nigerians should depend on.
“Countries all over the world are rethinking their framework and creating more dynamic governance framework for managing their roads.
“This is the time for Nigeria to do the same,’’ Saraki said.
He said that the importance of a good road network as the arterial architecture on which a modern economy should rely could not be overemphasised.
According to Saraki, there is the need to lay a new foundation on which we can build a more enduring road infrastructure base for a new Nigerian economy.
He said that there was the need to have a high-level coordination of Nigeria’s infrastructure stock because of its importance to the development of the nation.
Saraki, however, assured that the 8th Senate would continue to do its best to engage Nigerians on matters that had direct impact on their welfare and progress.
In his remark, Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, Sen. Kabiru Gaya (APC-Kano) said that infrastructures provided the backbone for national prosperity, growth and development.
“They facilitate transport and ultimately boost the health and education of the people that enables the economy to flourish, ” he said.
According to him, for long, Nigerians have been at the receiving end of dilapidated infrastructure which has increased the cost of doing business and continued to slow economic growth.
“How is it that a country that is blessed with enormous human resources be unable to coordinate its integrated infrastructure stock in a sustained and sustainable manner.
Gaya called on relevant authorities to chart a new course on the possible pathways to addressing the problems of road network through an institutional framework that conformed to international standards and practices.
Similarly, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, stressed the need for an increased awareness on usage of the roads.
Fashola said that change in government had affected development and weakened investors’ confidence.
He said that all recommendations reached should be embodied on the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) instead of creating new bodies.
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