Works minister Dave Umahi, Thursday, suspended funding of some federal roads under construction in South-east states over suspected contract inflation.
Umahi, former governor of Ebonyi state, stated this while inspecting some federal roads under construction/rehabilitation across states of Southeast.
He said he was unhappy that four bridges and three kilometres of additional work were costing N15bn. In his words, “I have directed directors in the ministry to sit with the contractors to review them.
“There is no way that the project will cost us more than N3bn to N4bn. When a project is too expensive, and the budgeting process is low, contractors will remain on site for 10 to 15 years.”
Among the roads he inspected are Ozalla- Akpugo-Amangunze-Isu Onicha (Enugu-Onitsha) road being handled by Arab Contractors; rehabilitation of old Enugu-Onitsha road by Arab Contractors; Nenwe-Nomeh-Mburubu-Nara road with a spur from Obeagu-Oduma road, Enugu State; and the rehabilitation of Nsukka-Ikem, Eha Amufu – Nkalagu in Ebonyi State.
He rated the quality of work on some of the roads in Enugu high. He however said certain payments would stop until some overbloated contracts were reviewed.
Some of the affected projects are being handled by RCC and Arab Contractors.
During the inspection, he ordered the contractor handling Mmaku road to return to site within seven days to cover the binder course. He also directed that the right-hand side of the Enugu-Onitsha expressway be done with concrete to save costs.
Quoting him, “I discovered something unprofessional where contractors put a binder course and leave it up to five to eight years. Within that period, the binder course fails.
“From now on, no contractor will leave the binder course for more than one month without covering it because the binder course admits water which affects subgrade. It is not healthy for contractors as they lose money for the equipment they are using to maintain the work.”