The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has said the Federal Government would soon unveil its new policy on toll gates.
He said the new policy, which would be rolled out under the highway development initiative, would come into force after approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
“That initiative has progressed; we have received it, qualified people, we are now going to ask them to send their proposals. I am not going ahead of myself, because, we are finalising a tolling policy that will come to the Federal Executive Council and it will be considered by the government.”
He said government would organise a stakeholders meeting ahead of implementation of the policy. Fashola said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has awarded 800 contracts since it came on board six years ago.
This is even as the minister dispelled insinuations of housing crisis in Nigeria, saying what the country was battling was urbanisation which had led to the mass movement of people from rural areas to urban centres, creating a demand and supply problem in the sector.
Fashola spoke as guest of the weekly ministerial briefing organised by Presidential Communication Team at the presidential villa, Abuja, on Friday.
“The number of contracts awarded is 800, not 800 projects. Sometimes within a road you might have multiple contracts. For instance Kano to Maiduguri there are five different contracts that are unique. If you look at the Lagos – Ibadan, there are two contracts there, for Enugu – Port Harcourt there are five contracts. So each one has designated supervising project officer, so in that sense it is right to say we have 800 plus contracts.”
The minister said the work done consists of highways bridges, covering a distance of over 13, 000 kilometres.
While refuting claims that Nigeria has 17 million housing deficit, saying even though people squat in the cities, it does not amount to housing deficit in the country.
“It is illogical to say we have housing deficit when you have empty houses. No such deficit exists anywhere in the world.We are not in a housing crisis. Housing shortages that exist are in urban centres not in rural areas. The problem is as a result of urbanisation where people move from rural to urban centres.”
Fashola said he had consulted with some international organisations, including the African Development Bank (AfDP) and confirmed that the Nigerian housing deficit reports are not correct.
He advised Nigerians that the purported 17 million housing deficit in the country should be disregarded. He said the actual housing deficit in Nigeria cannot be ascertained until another census is conducted in the country. On infrastructural development, he said the administration of Buhari has taken bold steps to execute projects that seemed impossible for previous governments, siting the second Niger Bridge, Lagos Oworinshoki road, Third Mainland bridge repairs, Kano-Abuja road among others.