Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, yesterday, received N162, 557,000,000 SUKUK Bond aimed to facilitate the execution of major road projects across the country.
Fashola, while speaking during the presentation of the Sovereign Sukuk Symbolic Cheque by the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, commended the partnership between the government and the private sector in the provision of SUKUK financing in roads project across the country.
According to Fashola, “44 Federal Roads spread across the six geo-political zones are being financed under this SUKUK road project. He listed the number of roads project being executed per geo-political zone as follows: North Central having eight, North East Eight, North West Seven, South West Six, South East Five and South-South having Ten road each with the breakdown of the financial implication as follows: North Central N26.5b, North East N30.5bn, North West N26.5bn, Southeast N26bn, South-South N26bn, and South West N27.05bn.
Speaking on the recent public debate on government borrowing and the concerns being raised by Nigerians, Fashola explained that, with this Sukuk project distribution, Nigerians will now see where and how the monies were being spent.
Fashola also listed the many economic benefits of road construction to the people, saying that a lot of jobs have been created for labourers, artisans, suppliers of building materials, sand suppliers, farmers, and even food vendors who make their daily earnings from the construction sides.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has been legitimately distributing wealth through investment in road infrastructure and the 100 million Nigerians he would take out of poverty in a decade would be achieved,” he said.
In her remarks, the Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed, said one of the key pillars of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), is the development of critical infrastructure projects to remove the impediments to growth and development in the economy.
She explained that the President through the annual budgets had prioritized capital expenditure on the development of roads, rail, power, and agriculture infrastructure projects.
She stated that the amount N162, 557,000,000 now released signified the 100 percent full deployment of the total amount raised by the Debt Management Office (DMO), dedicated to roads project
The Director-General Debt Management Office (DMO), Dr. Patience Monica said also that the release of this N162, 557,000,000 was the third and final release of the SUKUK secured financing for road project out of the total N462, 5577,000,000 raised by the DMO.
Chairmen of relevant National Assembly Committees that attended the symbolic public presentation of the cheque include Committees on Works and that of Aids, local and foreign debts of both chambers (Senate and House of Representatives.
In separate remarks, the Chairmen Senate Committee on Works, Senator Adamu Alieru and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Honourable Kabiru Bichi expressed satisfaction with the zeal to work demonstrated by the Minister of Works and Housing and the quality of work done by the contractors and promised that the National Assembly would collaborate fully with the executive to ensure that Nigerians enjoy good quality roads.
Responding on behalf of the Contractors, the Managing Director of Reynolds Construction Company, (RCC) Nigeria Limited, Engr. Nabeel Esawi appreciated the effort of the government in promoting road financing through SUKUK.
He promised the government that, with this positive development of funding, contractors would take full advantage of the coming dry season to achieve more and recover the time they had lost as a result of COVID 19 lockdown.
“SUKUK is gradually changing the face of Nigerian road to the better. Our Bulldozers and Machinery will speak for us ” he said