Conspiracy against federal highways?

Ask, what can N11 billion do?
Quite a lot of course, although not for a money-guzzling but critical sector like road.
This is the situation of federal highways this year as the Minister of Works, Architect Mike Onolomemen, disclosed on Monday that only N11 billion was allocated for capital projects of the ministry in the 2015 budget. The minister made the disclosure while defending his ministry’s budget proposal before the Senate, explaining that with the situation, the ministry has decided to focus on only 33 out of 210 projects it has.
As if adding salt to injury, Onolomemen further disclosed that Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and the Office of Surveyor General of the Federation (OSGF) received zero allocation for the year. The minister also disclosed albeit to the dismay of Nigerians that provisions were not made for other Departments of the Ministry such as Road and Bridge Design Departments, Mechanical and Electrical Department as well as the Service Department in the budget.
The disclosures have heightened fears among Nigerians who for some time now have been applauding the Federal Government’s efforts on the nation’s highways, with many describing N11 billion allocation as a conspiracy to cut short ongoing transformation being witnessed there across the country.
The sharp drop in revenue from the oil sector, the mainstay of the economy, must be responsible for a massive cut in expenditure, no doubt. However, not a few believe that if nothing is done to increase the allocation, federal roads that are currently under rehabilitation, and those where work is expected to begin this year, may witness little or no action. In fact, there are fears that unless more funds are allocated to the sector, federal roads may return to the dark days when they were death traps.
So, let those behind this conspiracy do a rethink!

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Ihesiulo Grace

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