The Federal Government said on Thursday in Abuja that it had committed N300 billion so far on road infrastructure compared to only N18 billion which the previous administration spent.

Mr Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, said this during the 4th Quadrennial Delegates Conference of Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) with the theme: “Road Infrastructure in Nigeria: Impacts on Petroleum Products Distribution”.

“It is one thing to have a plan, it is another thing to commit to the faithful implementation of that plan.

“Let me remind you that the budget I inherited from the Ministry of Works in the last administration was N18 billion for all the roads in Nigeria.

“Only N9 billion was paid out of the budget but the last budget in the state that I left for road was about N74 billion for one state, while the whole country budgeted N18 billion during the time of Transformation Agenda.

“That was when the country was earning about 100 dollars for one barrel of oil; but this is the time of economic recovery and growth plan which has committed close to N300 billion to road and with funding of about N260 billion.

“And this is happening when oil price is below 100 dollars per barrel; meaning that this administration is doing more with less resources.”

He said that the government had identified six priority areas of road that needed urgent attention.

The minister noted that there was no state in the country where road construction or rehabilitation was not currently ongoing, adding that 300 roads across Nigeria were under construction.

He said the six areas of focus were the roads with the heaviest traffic (A1-A4 roads) like Lagos-Shagamu, Ore-Benin, Enugu-Onitsha and Calabar.

He said that the contractor had gone back to site on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

Fashola further said that roads connecting agricultural development areas, roads leading to ports and depots, roads inside higher institutions and comprehensive maintenance of bridges and repairs were being given priority at the moment.

He, however, added that the biggest causes of road accidents based on the monthly reports given to the ministry, was speeding.

According to him, 10 per cent of the accidents are caused by bad roads. He, therefore, charged tanker drivers to put safety first.

Also speaking, Dr Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), acknowledged the role of tanker drivers in resolving the challenges of distribution of products during periods of fuel scarcity.

He said that with the help of the association, NNPC was able to apprehend those involved in fuel diversion and smuggling.

Baru pledged NNPC’s continuous dialogue and collaboration with the association, to ensure smooth distribution of fuel products in the country.

In his remark, Dr Salimon Oladiti, the National Chairman, Petroleum Tanker Drivers branch of NUPENG, said the theme centered around the major concern of its members, which was road infrastructure.

“The theme for this conference centres around the major condition of work for our teeming members, which is road infrastructure and its impact on our efficiency and effective delivery on petroleum products.”

Oladiti, however, commended members of the association for their continuous support and commitment to the newly commissioned PTD hotels in Utako District, Abuja.(NAN)