ABUJA (Min of Works and Housing Report) – The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petition, has commended the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, for ensuring compliance with local content, in the execution of road projects in the country.
Babatunde Fashola received this commendation during the public hearing on a petition written by the Abak community, on the ongoing reconstruction work of Abak Ekparakwa-Eke-Ikot – Abasi Road in Akwa Ibom State, recently.
The Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Jerry Alagboso, commended the commitment of the Minister in ensuring that contractors complied with local content as provided in the executive order 2 for support for local content in procurement of goods and services.
The Committee also urged the Minister to henceforth engage more people from the benefitting community, of any road project, in order to make them understand what is involved around the whole project being executed in their community, to avoid a misguided and ill informed insinuations.
In response to the community’s allegation against the Minister for non compliance with the local content, Babatunde Fashola explained that, the employees engaged by the company were largely indigenous people which were over fifty in number, adding that, materials such as laterite, sand and cement were also locally sourced.
He presented pictorial evidence of the conditions of the road in question, and explained that some sections of the road were largely motorable, consequently, only rehabilitation work was necessary there.
He further explained that the company was working according to specification as contained in the contract agreement, which stated for reconstruction of the 20 kilometers failed part of the road and rehabilitation of the remaining motorable 15 kilometers.
The Minister who commended the passion of the community on the project, however advised them to consider the long term benefits of the road, such as easy movement of goods from their farms to market, attraction of investment and employment generation that would be derived from the completion of the project instead of concentrating on the short term benefits that they could get from the work.
He maintained that his Ministry has a clear course of behaviour of monitoring projects closely to ensure quality control and compliance with specification as he is receiving monthly updated reports from states’ controllers of the Ministry.
The Abak community had alleged in their petition that the contractor was not working according to specification because the contract given to them was to convert the road to a dual carriage way, they also accused the company of not ensuring local content in their work.
Salisu B. Haiba
Assistant Director (Press)