Obasanjo settled debts with $12billion, Under-invested in Nigeria’s infrastructure – Fashola

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Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing has accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of under-investing in Nigeria’s infrastructure during his Administration.

Fashola who made the accusation on Channels TV disclosed the former President used resources meant to build  infrastructure on cancellation of debts.

According to him, there was a $12billion dollar Paris grant which could have been used to build rail lines at a time when there was no functioning rail in the country.

Fashola said he would have made judicious use of the grant if he had the opportunity.

“At one time in this country, in 2005, we had $12 billion. At that time, these roads were bad. At that time there was no rail. But what did we do as a matter of state policy, it was just to pay creditors to our own detriment.

“I can only imagine if I had the opportunity then with $12 billion in my hand, we would have built rails and roads. What this government is dealing with, which I am responsible for the roadside, is the infrastructure that will be enduring.

According to the Minister,  Nigerian roads don’t last because of the weight of cargo transported every day.

Fashola noted heavy cargo ought to be transported on rail not roads.

He said:

“Without the rails, we will not have roads that last. Trucks and heavy cargo is not meant for our roads. The jurisdictions we want to be like, don’t transport cargo, containers on their roads. That’s why I am so optimistic about tomorrow that if we advance this significantly, there will be a better tomorrow.”

“We lost the opportunity to invest $12 billion and then we went back to borrow and the problems haven’t gone away and they will have to be dealt with,”

However, he noted the nation was not incurring debts to make life worse for future generation but to ease the lives of future leaders.

“Every generation that’s responsible enough like us must position for tomorrow’s children. We should not leave this for them to come and do because it will be more expensive

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“That said, I think the way to go is to say that at the appropriate time, a tolling policy will be developed because for you to toll you must ordinarily develop alternatives. Government must also understand that not all of its infrastructure is of a commercial kind,” he stated.


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