Renowned civil engineer and consultant, Engineer Abubakar Mohammed, has described the decision of the Minister of Works, David Umahi, on the proposed, abrupt switch from asphalt to concrete base roads as ill timed with dire implications for Nigeria.
He stated this while speaking to journalist in Abuja on the minster’s statement that Nigeria needs $35bn to begin concrete roads.
Engr Abubakar said Umahi didn’t conduct a through evaluation, feasibility studies and envisaged implications before arriving at the decision.
He said, “Umahi’s decision on concrete pavement is ill-timed looking at the contractual and legal gaps dogging the existing road construction contracts in the country that have reached substantial level of completion.
“The decision didn’t consider the forex scarcity, inadequate machines, and equipment, rising cost and demand for basic raw materials including cement and iron roads which would have direct and unbearable economic consequences on the real estate industry and Nigerians.
“The minister’s recent revelation that the moribund Ajaokuta steel rolling company will provide 16 per cent of the steel material requirements demonstrated the fact that Nigeria isn’t ripe and disposed for such highly technological departure”.
He noted that, with the prevailing economic condition and budget deficit, borrowing for the purpose will further worsen the nation’s economic woes.
He therefore called on the government and the National Assembly to, as a matter of urgency, halt this decision until all the grey areas and drawbacks are fully addressed.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Works, David Umahi, has said that the federal government needs $35bn to kick start the construction of concrete roads nationwide.
He made the revelation in a meeting with his counterpart, the Minister of Steel Development, Shuaib Audu, at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
The minister said the moribund Ajaokuta steel company will provide 16 per cent of the steel material needed for the construction of Nigeria’s roads in concrete pavement.