The Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) has canvassed increased funding for ongoing federal road projects in Anambra, Enugu and Onitsha-Enugu Expressway, to ensure their timely completion.
Mr Charles Abana, an Assistant Director, Legal Investigation and Enforcement in the commission, made the call during a verification of some projects in Awka and Enugu on Wednesday.
Abana, who led a six-member team from the commission and Federal Ministry of Finance, said he was satisfied with the quality of work on the projects.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the team inspected the ongoing rehabilitation of the remaining section of the Onitsha-Enugu Expressway at Amansea – Enugu state border with contract number 6266 FMWH.
They also inspected work on Ezieche-Umuawulu town hall, near Awka, among nine other projects in the South-East.
“Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) Nig. Ltd. has done a lot as seen from the section of Onitsha to Enugu, but there are still some sections not completed.
“There are some challenges, in terms of funding, because it is apparent that the contractor has exceeded the amount he was given and the certificates raised to complete the job,” he said.
According to Abana, most of the funds channelled to the project are Sukuk funds.
“The last money they got from Sukuk was N6 billion, which cannot complete the project.
“With more funding in next year’s budget, the pace of the project will increase,’’ he said.
Speaking at the site for the town hall, Abana also expressed satisfaction with the level of work done.
He said that work had reached tiling, plumbing and wiring stages.
“We were told that the contractor was bereaved and, therefore, absent to answer some questions on contract sum and challenges.
“But from what we earlier gathered, funding is also a major challenge here,” he added.
Abana explained that the commission basically exists to monitor and enforce the provisions of Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.
“One of the main thrust of the law is to set out principles and practice of how government budgeting and general public finance management of the country is organised.
“Issues of transparency, accountability and prudence, in terms of expenditure and so on, are all covered in the law.
“It is the mandate of the commission to ensure that projects are not abandoned and that reasonable funding arrangement are made on a yearly basis to cover projects,” he said.
The Project Manager of RCC, Mr Harel Vaknin, explained that work commenced on the Onitsha-Enugu Road project on March 5, 2016.
Vaknin said that the project was expected to be completed on Oct. 4, 2021.
He said the contract sum was N62 billion and that the project had reached 34 per cent completion as at November.
“Amount certified so far for the project is N7.8 billion and N4.66 billion had been paid.
“We submitted N1.55 billion certificate recently to the Federal Ministry of Works,” he said.
He attributed the delay in the execution of the project to the rainy season, lack of payment and COVID-19.
Receiving the team at his palace, the traditional ruler of Umuawulu, Igwe Joel Egwuonwu, thanked the Federal Government for building the town hall.
Egwuonwu said that when completed, the hall would provide a befitting place for community meetings.