The federal government has approved the sum of N185 billion for the construction and dualisation of the Calabar-Itu highway.
The money is part of the N621 billion tax credit scheme of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) to fund the reconstruction of 21 federal roads.
This was disclosed by the senior special assistant to the president on Niger Delta Affairs, Ita Enang while briefing journalists after a tour of the project on Wednesday.
He said that the project was awarded in three tranches, adding that the first phase was awarded to Julius Berger for N54 billion.
According to him, the construction company has started works on the axis between Odukpani in Cross River state and Ibiono in Akwa Ibom state.
He added that the sum of N52 billion was approved for the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) while SEMATECH was given the sum of N79 billion for road construction and four bridges.
Enang attributed the delay in the construction of the road to lack of funds.
He, however, assured stakeholders that with the funds readily available the project would be completed with dualised carriage by April 2023.
“We have been having problems getting funding for the road, but Mr President has asked me to assure you that we raised money from the tax credit window from the Federal Inland Revenue Service to the NNPC to fund critical infrastructure, mainly road infrastructure,” the presidential aide said.
“Out of the over N600bn raised from the NNPC as a tax credit, a great part-that is N185bn-has been dedicated to this road. The road was awarded in three tranches. The first money that was available was N54bn and was for Julius Berger, N52bn to CCECC and the last N79bn to SEMATECH Engineering.
“This road was designed for dualization since 1972 and only one lane of the four lanes was constructed believing that others would be constructed since then.
“Thank God, President Mohammadu Buhari has started constructing other lanes with four bridges, and he has promised to complete it within the time frame.”
He urged citizens to be patient and cooperative with the contractors handling the project.