Stealing Public Trust
...Premium Times’ Low Premium Reporting.
The stupidity of the THOUGHT that a public officer will take such money on a consistent and repeated basis with impunity reveals the mindset of Premium Times about what they can do in such circumstances.
The pen writes what the mind thinks.
That stupidity is magnified by the thought that the public officer who is trying to steal would be paying the money into his bank account where it can be found.
The stupidity initially informed my decision not to respond to Premium Times in their latest publication headlined under my Name. It is a continuing line of a series of Attack FASHOLA.
Regrettably, what Premium Times has done is to damage its reputation as a news medium for those who seek the truth.
Clearly, no investigation was undertaken in respect of this publication as the report was from “Open Portal.”
If it was from the Open Portal then there was nothing to hide.
If Premium Times had conducted any investigation it will find and report that payments like this occurred in many other ministries and have been a source of concern reported in other media by Compliance Authorities.
If Premium Times investigated, it would have found and reported that Ministers do not manage accounts and finances of Ministries.
A little investigation would have shown Premium Times that Directors of Finance and Accounts (DFAs) are those who do this job and they are staff of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and seconded to the Ministries as part of financial controls.
If Premium Times investigated it would have found and reported that government in 2007 initiated a payment platform called Integrated Payment Platform and Information System (IPPIS).
Any well meaning and right thinking member of the public will recall that this administration has been engaging all sectors of Government to fully migrate to the IPPIS platform.
What has happened is that not all Government Officials who, from time to time, needed to be paid for approved expenses were registered on the platform.
In order to ensure that government work was not hampered, the DFAs sought and obtained approval of the Accountant General to pay these monies through the Accounts of an Approved few who were on the platform.
Those so approved then collect the money and disburse to the beneficiaries who sign Receipts all of which are retired and available for verification as approved by the Accountant General.
The Accountant General has recently issued new guidelines to deal with this process because not all public officials have fully enrolled on IPPIS and the DFAs have the mandate to comply and not FASHOLA.
In all, no money was stolen or is missing. There is No Smoking Gun to criminalize Fashola.
If anything has been stolen it is the Trust of the public by Premium Times.
I will not believe anything they write again.
This is not investigative Journalism. It is Irresponsible Journalism.
BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA, SAN
HON. MINISTER OF WORKS AND HOUSING
FG Assures Completion of Bodo-Bonny Road, Bridges on Schedule
The Federal Government has assured Nigerians that the construction of the Bodo-Bonny road would be completed on schedule as funding would no longer be a challenge.
This was disclosed by the Director Highway Road Design, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Engr. Omotayo Awosanya during an inspection tour of the project to ascertain the level of work done and update Nigerians on what the present administration had achieved so far on the project.
According to Engr.Awosanya the project had a counterpart funding mechanism when it was awarded in 2014, 50% from the Ministry and the remaining 50% from the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited.
He stated that funding would no longer be an issue in the execution of the project because the Federal Government is adopting the Tax Credit Scheme with the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited to completely fund the project.
Out of the 37.9km road, Engr.Awosanya disclosed that 31km has been completed. He said that with the speed of work put in by the contractor,Julius Berger Nigeria Plc recently, the project would be delivered in November 2021 as scheduled.
He further stated that the project was important to President Muhamadu Buhari as it would open up Bonny Island in particular and generally lead to economic empowerment of the country as a whole.
Speaking during the site visit, the Project Manager of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Thomas Haug said since commencement of work two years ago, his company had completed all the parapets, started work on eight mini bridges and constructed 200m long pipeline crossing bridge. He said two mini bridges had been constructed and 1.4million cubic meters of sand dredged to the point of the inspection.
Mr. Haug disclosed that they would be constructing the major bridge at Opobo next.
Also speaking, His Royal Highness, Chief Benson Egwenre, a community leader from Andoni said the community was happy especially with the prospects of economic benefits from the project. He said as per local content, the contractor has promised to employ youths of the community from January next year.
However, a total of 587 persons have been employed by the Contractor, out of which 438 (consisting of unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled labour) are from the immediate host communities while more people will be employed from the host communities by the main contractor, Julius Berger Nigeria and subcontractors as the work progresses.
Text Delivered By H.E, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN At The Commissioning Of Woodhill Estate Under Akacare Cooperatives, And Flag-Off Of Cooperative Housing Development, Kuje, FCT, Abuja
Welcome one and all to the commissioning of Woodhill Estate of AKACARE Cooperative Housing Scheme and the flag-off of our cooperative housing initiative, one of the series that will happen in each of the six (6) geo-political zones of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory.
One of the NEXT LEVEL commitments of the Federal Government of Nigeria as declared by President Buhari at the ministerial retreat held in September 2019, is to deepen access of Nigerians to affordable housing and consumer credit.
This is a mandate item of the housing sector of the Ministry of Works and Housing; as the policymaking arm of government, and we have assigned the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) a parastatal of the Ministry of Works and Housing, the implementation responsibility for executing our policy of PARTNERSHIPS with cooperatives.
For those who may wonder, why cooperatives? The answer is simple.
By definition, co-operatives are "an autonomous association of persons united VOLUNTARILY to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned enterprise.”
The key word in that definition is the "voluntary" nature of cooperatives, and this is critical in the formulation of our policy of partnerships with cooperatives as a means of overcoming the problems of "Acceptability" and affordability that stand in the way of access to housing.
This is important because our experiences, our investigations and our observations reveal starkly that there are hundreds of thousands of empty and unoccupied houses in major cities across Nigeria.
They are empty and unoccupied because they are either over-built, in being too big, or under-built in being too small and therefore not acceptable to those who need them, because in many instances no consultation took place between the builders and the consumers they built for.
This is why we are undertaking a pilot scheme based on our studies to build in 34 states who provided land, what the people we consulted said they will find acceptable.
Because of the lack of consultation and acceptability problem, the problem of affordability creeps in.
Our policy development team finds the voluntary nature of cooperatives very useful because members will be expected to design and build according to their needs and their income, as they find affordable.
Co-operatives have traditionally proved to be successful in areas like transportation, agriculture, trade and commerce, market associations and amongst large groups in the informal sector.
It is these large members of the informal sector that we seek to reach, scale up constructions of houses and the multiplier effects on the economy for cottage industries who make building materials like paint, doors, roofing materials, nails, and electrical fittings to mention a few.
The scale of construction by voluntary associations is expected to ramp up employment and income for artisans who will build houses. This will be our contribution to President Buhari’s commitment to raise a hundred million out of poverty in a decade.
As in other sectors, when cooperatives have been successful, we can point to modest successes of partnerships by FMBN with some cooperatives in the formal sector that currently has 52 housing projects under construction to deliver 4,624 units in 2020.
It is this number, that the policy we flag-off today seeks to multiply in many fold by unleashing the power of cooperatives and empower their voluntary will to act together in pursuit of the common desire to access housing and credit.
In order to be eligible, cooperatives must be registered, they must acquire their own land, get title to it, seek and obtain a building permit from the governments of the respective states where their land is located.
This last requirement is instructive because it seeks to eliminate incidents of unapproved buildings and slums which governments later seek to demolish.
All the state government agencies in charge of land have been duly briefed at the National Council launch meeting held in Abuja on November 7th 2019.
The Mandate and the role of the FMBN is to then provide construction funding to the cooperatives to build the houses, and to provide mortgage finance to the individual members to buy the house and pay back in instalments at a rate not exceeding 10% per annum.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the sum and substance of the policy and partnerships that bring us to Kuje, in the FCT today because AKACARE cooperative has embraced this NEXT LEVEL initiative to deepen access to housing and consumer credit.
It is therefore my honour and pleasure to flag off this cooperative partnership in the hope that it will quickly spread to other states in this Geo political zone.
As every cooperative chooses what it desires and can afford, the FMBN, representing the Federal Government of Nigeria will be your partner, providing financial support to enable you to act voluntarily to choose and build what you accept and your income can afford.
On behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government of Nigeria, I commission this Housing Estate and flag off this co-operative development away from poverty and towards common prosperity.
Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Honourable Minister of Works and Housing
FASHOLA, DAPO ABIODUN, OTHERS AT THE PROJECT UPDATE INSPECTION OF THE REHABILITATION, RECONSTRUCTION AND EXPANSION OF LAGOS – IBADAN DUAL CARRIAGEWAY, SECTIONS I & II (LAGOS, OGUN AND OYO STATES) & TOWN HALL MEETING IN OGERE, OGUN STATE
Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN (left) and Governor of Ogun State, Mr. Dapo Abiodun (right) during the Project Update Inspection of the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Expansion of the Lagos -Ibadan Dual Carriageway, Sections I & II in Lagos, Ogun and Oyo States and Town Hall Meeting with Stakeholders on Saturday, 21st November 2020
FASHOLA AT THE PROJECT UPDATE INSPECTION OF THE MAIN WORKS AND ASSOCIATED INFRASTRUCTURES OF THE SECOND NIGER BRIDGE IN ANAMBRA AND DELTA STATES & TOWN HALL MEETING
Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola,SAN(right) and Igwe Chidubem Iweka Eze -Iweka III, Eze – Obosi, Anambra State during the Project Update Inspection of the Main Works and Associated Infrastructures of the Second Niger Bridge Project in Anambra and Delta States/ Town Hall Meeting with Stakeholders on Friday, 20th November 2020