The Nigerian Institute of Highway Engineers (NIHE) has called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the road sector to attract private sector funding.
The Chairman of the institute, Isa Emoabino, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday.
Emoabino, who described the state of Nigerian roads as “extremely very poor”, advised that sufficient money must be allocated to the sector to give it a complete turnaround for good.
He said that an active participation of the private sector by way of funding would go a long way to accelerate its development.
“This government should declare an emergency on the road sector because that is the sector that will act as catalyst to improve the economic recovery and development of this nation.
“After decades of neglect and poor budgetary allocations, government needs to get money into the system before it can think of getting the road system back in good shape.
“Government should begin to focus on creative ways to sufficiently fund the sector for delivery of economic goods and services moving from one section of the country to the other,” he said.
Emoabino said that although there was an increase in the 2016 budgetary proposal for the road sector, government still needed to explore additional sources to raise sufficient funds.
He said that the road sector was not only poorly funded in the 2015 budget, but also lacked an institutional framework for planning and execution of projects.
Emoabino, therefore, urged the government to ensure a logical conclusion of the road sector reform, which was started during the tenure of the immediate past federal administration.
“We have been pushing in the past on plans for the government to do a road sector reform completely on that sector.
“Once we can complete that road sector reform, it means that the country will be in a situation where we can begin to address the issues in the sector properly.
“We are aware that the amount that has been proposed in the 2016 budget is about N400 billion or thereabout for power, works and housing.
“It is a very good attempt but you know that as at now, the sector is already owing contractors well over N300 billion. So, there is still a challenge,” Emoabino said.
The NIHE chairman said that his member were ready to work with the government to ensure that the roads were in good condition enough for movement of goods and services across the country. (NAN)