• Demands funding options

BY UBON EKANEM – The Federal Government must explore multilateral sources of funding to successfully complete and deliver on the Calabar-Odukpani-Itu highway project.

Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Solomon Enang, said the call for various financing options has become imperative due to current budgetary constraints.

Senator Ita-Enang said the push for alternative sources of funding arose from the obvious inadequacy of budgetary provisions for the road in federal budget.

He stated that the N1.1 billion approved by the National Assembly in the 2019 budget was grossly insufficient to handle the road, a development that has made it absolutely necessary to embrace other funding sources to effectively execute the highway project.

The Presidential aide on National Assembly Liaison (Senate) said given this inadequacy of allocated funds, he has forwarded a written request to the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Ministry of Works and Housing; as well as the Debt Management Office (DMO) to access funds from the Suku Bond.

He told journalists in Uyo on Friday that the “Suku Bond is one of avenues of funding major projects and that is the Suku Bond, a N100 billion, which was used in funding the Abuja-Lokoja road and other roads in the country.

“I am also making requests to relevant authorities so that we can look for some other sources as we are raising bonds and loans for other projects so that this could be included as one those projects to be funded.”

He however said despite the road’s huge economic importance to the South South people and region, the Akwa Ibom and Cross River State governments have regrettably refused to demonstrate the desired commitment to the project actualization.

He particularly lashed out at the Akwa Ibom State government, accusing it of playing dirty politics with the road construction to the detriment of its people

According the Presidential aide, it is quite disturbing that rather than be the much expected partners in progress, the State government has unfortunately descended so low to using the project as weapon of blackmail against the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.

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