The Federal Government on Wednesday, 3rd of October 2019 announced plans to ensure the return of tollgates on federal highways. The tollgates were abolished in 2003 by the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, stated this while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
According to him, FEC also gave approval for the repairs and rehabilitation of two road contracts that were awarded by the previous administration of President Goodluck Jonathan but without being cash-backed from N30.3Bn to N46Bn. The new cost was in consonance with the reality of economic rates, market price indices for roads inputs such as cement, iron rods, diesel, petrol and lubricant and the changes in prices between 2010 and now.
Fashola said, “The first one is Ibadan-Lagere-Ilesha Bypass 22km and the contract was awarded in 2010, no budgetary funding and so the rate has become obsolete. “The contractor wants new rate and that has necessitated the revision of the rate by N3.17Bn. The old contract of N6.7bn has moved now to N9.8bn.
“There is also Suleja-Lambata-Minna road. This is a 101km. It was awarded in two phases. The first phase was awarded in 2010 – 40km and then the second phase covering kilometre 40 to 101 was awarded in March 2015 but they used the 2010 rate.
So, the contractor is now at a point where he said those rates were unsustainable; he can’t continue and we have recommended again that the reverse rate be considered and council approved them. “It’s a revision by addition of N12.6Bn. So the contract price moved from N23.6Bn to N36.2Bn.”
The minister also threw more light on the planned return of tollgates which, he said, had reached an advanced state. Fashola said, “There is no reason why we can’t toll. There was a policy of government to abolish tollgates or dismantle toll plaza but there is no law that prohibits tolling in Nigeria today.”
The Minister who said that government was also considering a cashless payment through the introduction of electronic mode of payment further announced that government needed to acquire more land to expand the width of the tollgates as it proposed to have 10 lanes.