Mr Fashola said of the N956 billion outstanding liabilities, the government is owing contractors handling the National Housing Scheme N191.75 billion while the balance of N765 billion is owed contractors handling road projects.

As of September 2022, the outstanding liabilities owed by the federal government to contractors handling road and housing projects across the country stood at N956 billion.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.

He made the revelation at separate 2023 budget defence sessions with the Senate Committees on Works and Housing on Wednesday.

The comment comes a day after he told the House of Representatives panel that the federal government was owing contractors N765 billion for ongoing highway and bridge projects.

He had explained that the N110.5 billion was released to the highways (works sector) and utilised for payment of part of the outstanding certificates for executed works on roads and bridges in the 2022 budget.

At the interactive meeting with the Senate panel on Wednesday, the minister said of the N956 billion outstanding liabilities, the federal government is owing contractors handling the National Housing Scheme N191.7 billion while the balance of N765 billion is owed contractors handling road projects across the country from the total contract value of N10.4 trillion.

He also lamented the budget cuts earmarked for the two sectors in the 2023 fiscal year.

Addressing the Senate Committee on Housing, Mr Fashola said the National Housing Project which started in 2016 has been executed in 35 of 36 states with 1,250 contractors.

The 6,000 Housing units, he added, has created 46 construction sites across the country, 29,030 direct employment and 57,874 indirect employment.

“The National Housing Project is on course but the problems of paucity of funds through drastic budget slash and outstanding liabilities of N191.75billion, need to be urgently looked into,” he said. “In 2022, while the total capital votes for both works and housing Components of the Ministry was N441.18 billion, the proposal made for 2023 fiscal year is N146 billion.”

He futher complained that of the proposed N146 billion as capital expenditure for the entire ministry for 2023, only N45 billion is earmarked for the housing sector.

Similarly, he told the Senate Committee on Works that the main challenge to highways development in the country remains inadequate funding.

As of today, government is committed to highway contractors to the tune of about N10.4 trillion while a total of about N765 billion are unpaid certificates for executed works, he said.

“Secondly, the shortage of younger Engineers/Technical officers in the ministry as a result of embargo on employment is affecting proficient project supervision at the sites.”

He was however commended by the chairmen and members of the panel for the series of roads and housing projects executed across the country in the face of scarce resources and other challenges.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing, Sam Egwu (PDP, Ebonyi North), advised the minister to use the proposed N45 billion capital votes in the 2023 budget to complete the remaining 3,000 units of the 6,000 units National Housing Project.

At the Committee on Works, headed by Adamu Aliero (PDP, Kebbi Central), the Minister was tasked with ensuring completion of the second Niger Bridge this year and the critical road projects he highlighted.