The Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), says the delay in the release of funds has hindered the effective maintenance of roads in the country.
The Head of Communication and Public Relations, Mrs Maryam Sanusi, in Abuja on Wednesday said that the agency had been bogged down by the challenges of adequate funding.
According to her, some of the challenges are inadequate funding and delay in budgetary implementation.
“The budgetary implementation also causes delay in funding of the maintenance of the roads on schedule.
“Some of the contractors’ debts are not timely serviced due to paucity of funds which is also a setback regarding pro-activeness in road maintenance.’’
Sanusi, however, said that the agency had penciled down 60 roads for maintenance in the first quarter of 2016. She said that in some parts of the country where road repairs were ongoing such as the North-East, the current insurgency in the area and adverse weather also impede early completion of the projects.
Sanusi said that FERMA could overcome these challenges by generating funds through loans and grants from bilateral and multilateral agencies in addition to the budgetary allocation. She said that construction of toll gates, road concessions and public private partnership should also be encouraged as this would checkmate all forms of road abuse on our highways.
According to her, the 34,000 km road-network assigned to FERMA is in fair condition. She said that agency did not rehabilitate or construct new roads, adding that it only maintained and repaired federal roads.
The FERMA spokesperson said that 15,227.49km length of federal roads were still in bad shape, adding that 25 of the roads were presently undergoing maintenance covering 846.48 km.
Sanusi said that the contracts were awarded between 2012 and 2016 in the sum of N5.4 billion and the completion period of the projects spanned between three months to 12 months depending on the scope of work.
Speaking on the poor state of the roads, she noted that that their condition worsened due to constant usage by over loaded articulated vehicles.
She said that most of the roads had also outlived their life span, stating that there was the need for total rehabilitation or reconstruction.
“FERMA activities are still prominent and are ongoing along Federal highways through Direct Labour operations and intervention by contracts.
“The agency applies highway standard code of practice and specifications in all its repairs and maintenance.
“It also operates quality control laboratories in each geo-political zone of the country to ensure that materials are tested and are in accordance with Federal Highway Manual specifications.
“It has been stated in the agency’s terms of agreement with contractors that sub-standard works will not be paid for,’’ she said.