The Federal Government on Wednesday said it would concession the newly constructed Kubwa and Airport roads in Abuja through the introduction of toll gates to make the roads self-sustaining.
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Sen. Bala Muhammed, said this in Abuja while briefing State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Muhammed said that N49 billion was required for the completion of the affected roads, adding that tolling the roads would enable FCT to generate more funds for their completion and maintenance.
“Also, we have informed the council that we want to bring concession template on the existing corridors that we have finished with requirement of about N49 billion to complete the project, that is the airport road and the outer expressway so that at the end of the day we will toll them so that they would have been self-sustaining rather than waiting for federal government to give us the money which will shift the goal post for completion of the projects.”
The minister dismissed the insinuations that the proposed concessioning and subsequent introduction of the toll gates was anti-people, exploitative and unjustifiable, saying the arrangement was a global practice.
According to him, only the central lanes of the roads will be concessioned, while the service lanes will be free of charge.
“It is a global practice, the city is modelled after Brasilia, with the satellite towns feeding the centre and then we have the service road, any concession has a template, a global indices for concessioning is that we must provide an alternative road for the common people living along the corridor and this is ten lanes, we are just going to toll the centre lanes for purposes of payment, the rest will be free for use and this is what is the global practice.
“Of course, there people who would be in a hurry, they wouldn’t want to use the service lane and that is the idea of tolling, it is not going to impinge on travel time or increase the fare which is part of our KPI to reduce the fare within the FCT and outside.”
Muhammed said that government had a robust plan to develop the satellite towns in the FCT in order to take the pressure off the facilities in the city centre.
He said the FCTA, in partnership with the Nasarawa State Government, had concluded arrangements to begin the construction of a major corridor that would go through Masaka- Mararaba Gurku –Mpape-Katampe–Maitama to decongest the Nyanya-Mararaba road, and ensure smooth traffic flow in the FCT.
He said the road project would be carried out through a Private-Public-Partnership programme (PPP).
Muhammed further said that the FCTA would embark on a waste-to-power project as a way of creating wealth and job opportunities for youths in the FCT.