By Niyi Olutunde, Akure
President Muhammadu Buhari and governors across the country have been called upon to ensure the maintenance culture of the nation is improved upon to avoid several loans accessed from China and other creditors going down the drain.
Former Commissioner for Works and the deputy governorship candidate of Zenith Labour Party in Ondo State, Gboye Adegbenro gave the advice on Monday on a radio programme in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
According to him, poor maintenance of infrastructure facilities across the nation was responsible for the dwindling economy.
Adegbenro, who is now a chieftain of the PDP said the socio-economic challenges being faced in the nation was as a result of poor maintenance of all infrastructure facilities being put in place by different governments both at the federal and state level to enhance the business of the citizenry.
He, however, warned that if government at all levels continued with the poor maintenance culture, no matter how much the nation borrowed, it would not be able to close the current infrastructure deficit.
Adegbenro said: “There’s infrastructural deficit in the county. The infrastructure facilities constructed by the previous governments and the current government are not well maintained. The maintenance culture is our problem. We need to look into it.”
Commenting on infrastructure decay and moribund projects, the consulting engineer said: “Most people thought that when they talk of insfrastructure, it’s only road alone. Water resources management, power grid, telecom these are put in place by government to enhance people’s economic development.
“Government should look at infrastructure from the conceptual stage to construction and maintenance stage.
“There’s nothing wrong in borrowing to finance infrastructure, but are we sincere with ourselves. If we can’t maintain existing ongoing infrastructure, tell me how do we maintain a project that’s inaugurated.
“We are not doing things the way they should be done. For example, we have Ministry of Works and FERMA, Ministry of works is to construct road and hand over same to FERMA after inauguration to maintain. But what we now find these days is that FERMA is also constructing road.
“We are no longer doing things the way they should be done. If we can’t go back to the era of enhancing our maintenance culture, whatever infrastructure we construct whether by the federal or states, we won’t get there.”
In his reaction to why government preferred awarding contracts to expatriates, Adegbenro said there wasn’t anything wrong in awarding contracts to foreigners, but noted that there were some hiccups that accompanied such decision.
According to him, “We politicize issues. We prefer giving contract to the white when we have qualified engineers and experts who are citizens.
“These expatriates when they finish the projects, they travel back to their countries and if there’s any need to make some amendments, there won’t be way to access them.
“But if these projects are given to our qualified engineers, they remain in the country and could be reached if there’s any need for repair. If you put toll gates, the toll collected would not be used in maintaining the roads.
“Public Private Partnership (PPP) is good method of closing infrastructure deficit, but the bureacratic bottleneck usually frustrated such moves.
“So, if we borrow trillions upon trillions and we still display this kind of culture maintenance, we are not going to get anywhere.”
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