Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN has called on State Governments to recommit to housing development in their respective states in order to increase access to affordable housing to the citizenry.
Fashola spoke in his keynote address at the meeting of the Honourable States' Commissioners responsible for housing matters during the10th Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development held in Lagos State.
The theme of the meeting is "Housing Development as a Catalyst for Job Creation, Social Inclusion and Economic Development."
The Minister explained that the inequality among the nations and people can be reduced drastically if housing need of the poor is considerably addressed in the states.
"These are some of the reasons why I seek to persuade all of you to go back to your States to persuade your Governors to re-commit to housing development. I said re-commit, because I am aware that many states are doing something, but you will agree that there is a scope to improve and scale up," he said
“One reason why this will require an All of Government Action is the fact That land is a critical component of capital formation and it is controlled by the states (not the Federal Government)and I am persuaded that appropriate, targeted and purposeful use of land, such as for the development of housing by the states and private sector, will unleash prosperity in all states that aggregates to national prosperity,” Fashola explained.
The Minister gave example of Lagos State days of the LEDB, LSDPC and Lateef Jakande has been and added that the present Governor Babajide Sanwo- Olu, remains example of what state governments can do to deepen housing supply and reap the benefits that comes with it.
Buttressing his position, Fashola stated that land and housing is a sub-national matter of jurisdictions, pointing out that what the states do to facilitate processing of land titles, documentation, Certificate of Occupancy and other Geographic Information (GIS) details will go a long way in facilitating easy housing delivery.
Accordingly, he stated that appropriate, targeted and purposeful use of land, such as for the development of housing by the states and private sector, will unleash prosperity in all states that aggregates to national prosperity.
The Minister informed the meeting that the Federal Government is undertaking a National Housing Programme in 34 states aggregating to about 5,000 housing units, and trying to complete an inherited ministerial pilot housing scheme across the states which has a little over 6,000 units.
Fashola said that the decisions to recommit to housing development by State governments would facilitate the creation of variety of jobs because the services of various professionals in the built industry such as town planners, architect would be required, adding that artisans like masons, plumbers, carpenters and food vendors would not be left out of the value chain of prosperity resulting from economic development.
"When construction actively starts, ‘the economic explosion happens, supplies of sand, cement, reinforcements, roofing, plumbing, painting, and other components get to work" and "this drives a critical business in all our states, the micro small and medium enterprises who make or supply these building components, “he emphasized.
In the same vein, he explained that the Federal Housing Authority and Federal Mortgage Bank are also intervening as federal agencies in respective housing development directly through cooperative societies and the provision of development loans and mortgage loans.
But all these, he added, account for only a small amount of the need across the nation for many reasons not excluding the limited amount of land available to these federal agencies.
In his opening remarks, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, while assuring participants at the council of implementing the recommendations of the meeting, disclosed that the state had begun to implement the commendations agreed on at the 9thNationalCouncil on Lands Housing and Urban Development, on making land available for Building by providing lands to build a mini city at Imota in Ikorodu Division of Lagos State.
He said the state would develop about 3,500 housing units of 2 and 3 bedrooms in phases for civil servants and those in the informal sector who fall within the category of low-income earners and to be acquired at a single digit interest rate mortgage plan that could span a period of 15years. He added that his administration was determined to develop decent homes within the states as well as meet the housing needs of the citizens irrespective of their location.
Mr Governor, who said that home ownership was a vital tool for taking people out of poverty, assured the council that Lagos State would collaborate with the Private sector to adopt the monthly rent payment as proposed by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN.
In his vote of thanks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works And Housing, Babangida Hussaini, commended the excellent leadership of the works and housing sectors.
He also noted the commitment of Council Members to the 10th Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development and urged them to go back and implement the Council Resolutions.
One reason why this will require an All of Government Action is the fact that land is a critical component of capital formation and it is controlled by the states (not the Federal Government) and I am persuaded that appropriate, targeted and purposeful use of land, such as for the development of housing by the states and private sector, will unleash prosperity in all states that aggregates to national prosperity.
As you know, the Federal Government is undertaking a National Housing Program in all states (except Lagos and Rivers which has not started) aggregating to about 5,000 housing units, and trying to complete an inherited ministerial pilot housing scheme across the states which has a little over 6,000 units.
The Federal Housing Authority and Federal Mortgage Bank are also intervening as federal agencies in respective housing development directly, through cooperative societies and the provision of development loans and mortgage loans.
But all these account for only a small amount of the need across the nation for many reasons not excluding the limited amount of land available to these federal agencies.
These are some of the reasons why I seek to persuade all of you to go back to your states to persuade your Governors to re-commit to housing development.
I said recommit, because I am aware that many states are doing something, but you will agree that there is a scope to improve and scale up.
Lagos, since the days of the LEDB, LSDPC, Lateef Jakande has been and today in the time of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, remains an example of what state governments can do to deepen housing supply and reap the benefits that come with it.
Permit me to reflect on the benefits of some of them.
HOUSING, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS AND JOBS
The first is that most of the land held by the states that is not developed either for farming, manufacturing housing or other use, is idle, less valuable, and therefore dead capital that earns little if any income and generates little if any economic activity.
But from the day a decision is made to build, activity is created, people are galvanized, manpower is required, jobs are created and an economic exchange that leads to productivity starts.
Bulldozers employed in clearing are hitherto idle plant and equipment that get put to use, they require diesel to operate, which has to be bought and supplied, transporters are involved to deliver them just as operators are employed to operate the bulldozers.
But before all this happens, some people have been employed in design, layout planning, soil test and other pre-construction activities.
When construction actively starts, the economic explosion happens, supplies of sand, cement, reinforcements, roofing, plumbing, painting, and other components get to work.
This drives a critical business in all our states, the micro small and medium enterprises who make or supply these building components.
The delivery of building materials engages transporters, drivers and lubricant suppliers, but this is only part of the story.
The final leg is the inclusion of the urban poor, the people who depend on daily or weekly wages, the skilled and unskilled workers, bricklayers, carpenters, welders, painters, plumbers, electricians and others who work the materials into the construction of a house.
Of course, there is indirect employment in vendors who supply food, water and sustenance to the workers daily for months.
This is personal income, that is taxable by the states and Lagos State has shown the example of what is possible not only with personal income tax as a source of prolific internally generated revenue, but also the impact of property tax with the Lagos land-use charge as an example.
If we can imagine the picture I am painting we can only see a picture of gainful employment, inclusiveness and income that heralds prosperity as the opposite of poverty.
But the story is not finished. It also leads to furnishing; carpets, beds mattresses, curtains, and other household equipment usually purchased when people move to new homes.
However, let me be clear, not every government can afford to build houses on scale and not all residents want government built homes. So some of the things that the government can also do is to provide infrastructure, roads, connection to electricity and water in site and service schemes, allocated to citizens to build according to their budget but in conformity with the planning order.
CAPITAL APPRECIATION AND PROPERTY TAXES
Apart from some of the benefits that come with building which I have highlighted above, the investment in infrastructure alone adds 30 to 40% to the value of the land which was hitherto of little or no value. Estate surveyors will confirm this to you.
Land that appreciates in value, yields more revenue when property taxes are computed without necessarily raising the rate of taxation.
Every time I visit a housing site that is under construction, I pay particular attention to the people working on site.
They are often happy; they have dignity; they are proud to work instead of beg.
They can go home to their families and put food on the table for their children.
More importantly, they feel included.
But the matter does not end there.
PLANNING/CONSTRUCTION PERMITS AND URBAN PLANNING
I have had the privilege of sitting as a member of the committee set up by President Buhari to facilitate the ease of doing business across Nigeria; a national rather than a federal government business.
One of the parameters where we need to improve upon, and which has hampered our rating as a country, is the number of days and the length of time it takes to get a construction permit or planning approval; and the cost of it.
We in government must consciously improve on the bureaucracy around granting of construction permits or planning approval by taking steps to reduce the number of people involved, introducing some level of automation, such as online submission of applications and reducing the cost of approval.
We must see revenue in a more broader sense, such as reduced income for planning approval, and increased income from consequential construction like income tax of employees on site, and a broader land use charge from more houses built.
Please permit me to make one final point about planning before I leave it.
All over the developed world it is easy to observe sports and tourist facilities connected by interstate highways and interstate rail.
It is not accidental that thousands of people go by train or buses to a sports or entertainment event and return by it. It is the result of planning.
I urge you to take the opportunity as the Federal Government continues to connect the interstate roads and build the national rail network to challenge your land managers and Town Planners to take large tracts of land, plan them for residential and business purposes and set aside land for sports, recreation and entertainment.
You will be investing in the future of prosperity of your states and your indigenes if you do so now.
LAND TITLE AND DOCUMENTATION
It is impossible to address such a gathering of policymakers without touching on title documentations of land.
An untitled land, in the words of Hernando De Soto is “dead capital.”
It is a cause of exclusion, because the land is not formatted into a recognizable way that enables a financial institution identify the owner.
Therefore, untitled land cannot attract credit like a mortgage or development finance because it is not in transferable form to constitute security or collateral.
All states who seek prosperity and inclusion for the people must commit to expeditious processing, GIS mapping and titling of their land.
Lagos state will tell you how much IGR comes from land transactions, but you must find out how much has been invested in GIS mapping, scanning of millions of pages of Land title documents and automation of the issuance of certificates of occupancy.
My dear colleagues, there is no debate that the world is a place of inequality; among nations and amongst people.
While we cannot make the world equal, we can commit to reducing inequality.
We may not be able to make all people homeowners, but we can reduce the number of those who lack shelter or live on the edge every so often when rent is falling due.
I am sure that our country will be a much better place when three years rent in advance, two years rent in advance or one year rent in advance for middle class and working family residential homes becomes monthly rent, payable at the end of the month.
Why we may not get there immediately, this is an area of immense exclusion that we can remedy by legislative action at state level.
This is a matter in which the Federal Government has no legislative competence. It is a matter for the states, and I urge you not to turn your backs.
Three years rent in advance of monthly salary paid in arrears lies at the heart of affordability of access to shelter.
All state legislators must see this as an important area of representation of their people to make life easier.
So must Governors and Commissioners through Executive bills.
I will close by asking these questions.
If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?
Thank you for listening.
Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Honourable Minister of Works and Housing
Thursday 21st October 2021
It is my pleasure to warmly welcome you to this crucial Technical Session (Permanent Secretary’s Segment) of the 10th Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development with the theme “Housing Development as a Catalyst for Job Creation, Social Inclusion and Economic Development”, holding right here in the beautiful and commercial City of Lagos State.
2. Our appreciation goes to Almighty Allah who graciously accorded us the opportunity to be alive today and granted us safe journeys to this meeting, having travelled from far and near.
3. May I seize this great privilege to commend the impressive support of the Government and good people of Lagos State for hosting this Meeting, especially His Excellency, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, the Executive Governor of the State to host this crucial National Meeting and also providing us with a conducive environment for this Meeting. The Officials of the Lagos State Government have also worked assiduously with the Staff of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, preparatory to these Meetings. These exemplary gestures clearly demonstrate the Lagos State Government’s commitment and support to all Projects, Programmes and various Initiatives of the Federal Government.
4. This year’s Theme “Housing Development as a Catalyst for Job Creation, Social Inclusion and Economic Development” is apt and timeous considering the commitment of the present Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to address critical economic challenges confronting the Country and lifting 100Million Nigerians out of poverty through the creation of jobs and creating a just and egalitarian society through Social Inclusion.
5. Since the last 9th Council Meeting that was held in Jos, Plateau State this year, 2021, I am glad to inform you that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing embarked on the construction of decent and affordable mass housing Nationwide under the “National Housing Programme” (NHP) and strengthened corroboration with the organized private sector under the “Public Private Partnership” (PPP) Programme to provide quality and affordable houses to Nigerians.
6. Completed Projects under this Programme have impacted massively on the National Economy through creation of direct and indirect jobs. The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has assiduously worked with and supported the Federal Mortgage Bank (FMBN) and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) to provide decent and affordable Houses to Nigerians in line with the Ministry’s Mandate and also the resolve of this Administration to expand the Infrastructure and Housing Stock of the Nation.
7. Ladies and Gentlemen, the task of ensuring that housing development serves as a catalyst for job creation, social inclusion and economic development rests on the shoulders of all the Stakeholders in the Industry. While we provide the leadership for achieving the set objectives, I urge all stakeholders in the Industry to make good use of the opportunity provided by this Council Meeting to deliberate on Memoranda submitted towards formulating and strengthening Policies that would address Housing Development in Nigeria.
8. While welcoming you once again, I wish you fruitful deliberations.
Stakeholders in the built industry have converged in Lagos for the 10th Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development deliberate on ways to move the industry forward with a view to creating employment, social inclusion and economic development of Nigeria.
The theme of the meeting is " Housing Development As A Catalyst for Job Creation, Social Inclusion and Economic Development.
The meeting of the National Council on Lands Housing and Urban development is organized annually by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing as part of its statutory mandate.
In his introductory remarks, the Director, Planning, Research & Statistics, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Olajide Ode-Martins, said that the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development is the highest policy making organ of the Housing Sector where stakeholders in the sector engage in critical evaluation of and proffer solutions to challenges facing the sector.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Lands Bureau Olabode Agoro, identified housing development as a critical key to achieving the Federal government's vision of pursuing social economic renewal, inclusive of job creation and overall national as well as individual development
Agoro, who urged participants to actively evaluate the challenges facing the built industry in relation to Job Creation and national development, pointing out that if housing was thoroughly planned and implemented it could reactivate both the individual and national economy.
Directors and senior officials from relevant agencies in the built industry from both federal, states as well as private sectors are participating in the meeting.
It is with great pleasure and gratitude to Almighty God that I welcome you all to this memorable event of this 10th Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development with the theme: “Housing Development as a Catalyst for Job Creation, Social Inclusion and Economic Development” holding here in Ikeja, Lagos State from today, Monday, 18th to Thursday, 21st October, 2021.
2. We wish to express our sincere gratitude to the Executive Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, the Government and the good people of Lagos State for welcoming us to this great occasion.
3. Permit me to also appreciate the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN and the Permanent Secretary, Babangida Hussaini, for their unique leadership roles in piloting the affairs of the Ministry.
4. I must also recognize the presence of the Directors from the Federal and States Ministries of Housing, Lands and Urban Development and other officials from MDAs as well as professional bodies at this Council meeting.
5. Let me also commend the members of the Local Organizing Committee of the host State for their commitment and total support in ensuring that the event takes off successfully.
6. As you are aware, the Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development, the highest policy advisory body in the Housing Sector, is an annual event and a platform where stakeholders deliberate on issues and proffer solutions and recommendations that would facilitate the repositioning of the Sector to achieve its role as a catalyst for job creation, social inclusion and economic development.
7. Therefore, I urge all the Directors to use their wealth of experience and expertise, to own the process with zeal and show the right commitment towards a successful Council Meeting.
8. At this juncture, I would like to assure you that all necessary arrangements have been put in place to ensure a successful Council Meeting. The Secretariat is readily available to assist the participants during this Meeting.
9. Once again, I welcome you all to this occasion and wish you fruitful deliberations.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I do not know the criteria for choosing the speakers at the annual Olumide Memorial lecture which I am told started in 1982.
Therefore, I do not know what qualifies me to be this year’s speaker, but I am delighted to be here for one reason only, the opportunity to celebrate a true Nigerian professional, late Surveyor Cyprian Theodosius Olumide.
This is a matter hopefully that I will return to:- Professionalism in the Nigerian space.
While I am enthused to be here, my presence is one that is with some difficulty.
This difficulty arises largely because there is so much to talk about and to do and organizers have very smartly and to my own consternation, decided that I “…will be free to choose the topic of your (my) lecture.”
This is very difficult, not only because I did not have the privilege to ever meet Surveyor Olumide, and my efforts to find out more about him, using electronic search engines have not produced a lot of information.
This is something I hope the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors will remedy sooner rather than later.
But my difficulty has not been made easier by the fact that while the Institution must be commended for giving me very early notice, since June 2021, I still have not settled on a topic.
I must therefore express deep regret that I do not yet have a topic, but I will speak about various things in the hope that I can weave a theme that pays commendable tribute to Surveyor Olumide’s work and service to Nigeria and humanity.
So let me start with a personal story, and I will title the story:- “Mummy, who is a chief…? I want to be a chief.”
One evening around 1972, a young boy was watching the television with his mother, and NTA was featuring the announcement of a conferment of a chieftaincy by the then Oba of Lagos, Oba Adeyinka Oyekan, on a prominent Nigerian.
There was so much fanfare, and the young boy, not understanding what all the fuss was about, but nevertheless enthralled by the grandeur, asked his mother: “Mummy who is a chief? I want to be a chief.”
His mother then went on to explain to her son that if he wanted to be a chief he had to be a professional, work hard, subscribe to the highest values and serve people.
Of course, the mother did not miss the opportunity to challenge her son by stressing that the road to the journey of chieftaincy that he desired, started with schoolwork and that he must improve on his schoolwork effort and get good grades.
What you might ask is the relevance of this story?
That young boy later became a professional, a legal practitioner, he ended up as a public servant, but has seen the erosion of the institution of chieftaincy as described by his mother; because the values and standards have been compromised by some people, men and woman, who have devalued what the chieftaincy title once represented- a building block of society.
That young boy no longer wants to hold a chieftaincy title. He’s content with who he is not what he is called. That young boy is your guest speaker today.
Please remember this story as I will come back to it.
The second story is titled Apalara.
Alfa Bisiriyu Apalara, history records, was a cleric. The story is about his disappearance, till today, in what led to a famous murder trial. The scene was set around Ebute-Metta in Lagos and the circumstances suggest that his body was dumped in the Lagos Lagoon, somewhere under the 3rd Mainland Bridge which was not then conceived or built.
What the police investigators had to go by were pieces of evidence such as the fact that his “belongings were found in his house there was an attack on him…” “that blood (which was human) was found leading from that place, Tapa Street, to the foreshore…”
This event happened on the night of the 3rd January 1953, and the trial and appeal to the West African Court of Appeal was concluded on 25th February 1954 affirming the conviction of Joseph Ogunbayode Ogundipe and 9 others for murder.
The trial was concluded in a record 13 months in Nigeria.
But the story here is not just about the speed of trial , but the professionalism of the lawyers and, more importantly, the police officers who investigated the case.
One of them was Adeyemi Sapara, perhaps one of the foremost but uncelebrated Criminal Investigation detectives that our country has ever produced.
The story is relevant because these men showed “exemplary devotion to duty” a character trait of late Cyprian Theodosius Olamide.
The third story is that of Njovens.
Patrick Njovens, Y.L Bello, Alhaji Amusa Abidogun and Chief Samuel Taiwo “ST” Oredein (a famous political figure) were tried and convicted for abetting the commission of a robbery and of receiving stolen property; the 1st (Njovens) the 2nd (Bello) and the 3rd (Abidogun) were convicted of accepting gratification and of failing to arrest persons known to have committed offenses of armed robbery.
All the four accused were convicted of harbouring known offenders.
The offense took place on 13 April 1971 at a place between Ilorin and Bacita in Kwara State.
The relevance of this story is that on the 3rd of May 1973, the case, including the appeal to the Supreme Court, had been concluded within two years and one month, by the judgment of the Supreme Court delivered on 3rd of May 1973.
This is the story of professionalism, dedication to duty and a resolve not to be compromised.
The men who made history possible are the police prosecution witnesses who were not afraid to investigate and testify against their superiors and a politically connected fourth accused.
The first second and third accused persons were police officers.
But that did not matter to men like Jacob Abiodun Shangobiyi, the superintendent of police who testified for the prosecution and described the first, second and third accused persons as follows
“I know accused one he was my immediate senior officer at the State’s C.I.D., Ibadan. I know accused two he was the officer I/C in Crime Section, State’s C.I.D., Ibadan. I know accused three, he was attached to the Provincial Crime Branch, Central Police Station, Ibadan.”
There were other testimonies by police officers like Jacob Olaniyonu Olarinde, Assistant Commissioner of Police (9th Prosecution Witness) Michael Oshineye Showale, Deputy Superintendent of Police (13th prosecution witness.)
To the best of my knowledge these great men, who for the love of country, committed to duty at great risk, probably never received a national honour or a chieftaincy title.
It is tragic that it was the fourth accused, Chief Taiwo Oredein, who was a chief and I wonder what Shangobiyi, Olarinde and Showale would have felt were they then offered chieftaincies.
It is their devotion to duty that commends them to me, to share with you if you did not know, or to remind you, if you knew, on a day we gather to celebrate excellence, devotion and professionalism in the name of Surveyor Olumide.
But that is not all.
They represent shining examples of what we have done before and what we can do again, if we commit, and what we must do.
This then takes me to the next story, the debate about strong men and strong institutions.
This story, and the circumstances that brought it up, took place in my house this year on Eid-El-Kabir day when we were discussing our nation, and the reference was made to the statement by the former American President about the need for strong institutions rather than for strong men.
I saw it differently and I said so.
My view is that there is nothing esoteric about institutions, because the story of institutions is a story of men and women.
When institutions do well it is men and women who have done well and vice versa.
The Nigerian Police that investigated and prosecuted the Apalara and Njovens cases very professionally still exists as an idea and creature of our Statute.
But it is a different era.
Where are its Saparas, Olarindes, Showales, Shangobiyis, MD Yusufus, Kam Salems, Musiliu Smiths, Kafaru Tinubus, Etim Inyangs and Louis Edets?
How many now want to be like them and better?
Let me be clear, this is not an X-Ray on the police. It is simply an institution about which I can find some judgements/documents to tell this story.
There are many other professionals such as judges, forensic pathologists, court clerks, lawyers who made these achievements possible.
Not only is that Nigeria of efficiency and professionalism of the Olumide era possible, a better one is achievable.
And this takes me back to the debate about men/women and institutions.
I hold the clear view that every institution, nation, ministry, department, agency, company, church, mosque, etc represent nothing but ideas.
From this alone, the central role of men and women is already manifest. Who has ideas but us?
Those ideas then develop into paper, made by us in the form of laws, certificates or licenses, created and issued by men and women to create a Country (constitution); Company (certificate of incorporation) banks or telecoms (licenses).
What is then done with these creatures is a function of how men and women behave and nothing more.
The point was then made about how the Senate of the USA acted institutionally to save America’s democracy during the “Contestation of the 2020 elections” on January 6, 2021, in the aftermath of the onslaught on their parliament building.
But the argument of any inherent institutional strength in that senate or any organization collapsed, when I pointed out that:
a) The Vice President of the country Mike Pence, chose duty over self or office, because he accepted that his joint ticket had been defeated and it was his duty like many who held that office before, to let the right thing be done;
b) if he had followed the wishes of the President, his action as an individual would have brought an experiment of over 200 years to its knees;
c) in 2015, when Goodluck Jonathan decided to concede the elections to Muhammadu Buhari, some Orubebe-minded members of his party were acting in concert to frustrate the process, while the likes of Bishop Onaiyekan and General Abdulsalam Abubakar were in the Villa urging a solution;
d) that when President Yar’Adua sadly passed in 2010 and we were heading for the precipice, it was the act of men and women, rather than any institution, that steered the nation in the right direction to herald the emergence of a Jonathan presidency, notwithstanding that they were clear provisions as to what should happen when a sitting president dies in our constitution.
Ladies and gentlemen, my conclusion on this point is that it is the consistency of good deeds, good conduct that makes them institutionalized in a way that we can then speak of an institution.
One error, just one, in the recruitment process of the leadership or personnel becomes the fly in the ointment that makes nonsense of the work of generations and brings what has been institutionalized into disrepute and infamy.
Surveyor Cyprian Theodosius Olumide is an example of the type of good men and women we all need to build institutions in our public and private life.
I promised earlier to return to the issue of professionalism.
I do so now by returning to the first story about being a chief, the second one about Apalara, and a third about Njovens.
What runs through them all is professionalism.
The lawyer who was honoured with a chieftaincy, the policeman, lawyers judges and others who dispensed justice and of course Surveyor Cyprian Theodosius Olumide, all of whom did their work very well.
The question to now ask is whether such speedy and efficient disposal of cases still endures.
The court has not significantly changed in structure; but its personnel quality has certainly changed.
We have recently read reports on the Chief Justice of Nigeria interrogating the process of counter and conflicting court orders in relation to political matters.
While we wait for the outcome of the interrogation, it is clear that the values, professional integrity and dedication to duty of some of the personnel involved in the administration of justice have not retained the Olumide-like dedication to duty.
The court buildings and the judges remain but are the prosecutors assisted with the quality of investigation of the Sapara-type that helped the court conclude that the blood involved was human and not that of an animal and to be able to convict without finding a body.
Would it be possible in that era of professionalism to suggest, in the way that it was recently suggested, that a sum of missing money was swallowed by a snake?
What base thinking and assault to logic brings that kind of reasoning into contemplation if not a lack of professionalism and an opportunity to capitalize?
Ladies and gentlemen, I reiterate that the quality of any institution, country, business, ministry, development agency, school or otherwise is a direct result of the quality of its human capital.
I think I have now found my topic, and if you permit, I will conclude with it.
It is: “Human Capital and Institution Building.”
Thank you for listening.Read More
The Vice Chancellor of Bayero University Kano, Professor Sagir Adamu Abbas has commended the Federal Government for the road intervention projects in tertiary institutions nationwide.
Professor Abbas who led the management team of the University on a visit to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing expressed appreciation for intervention in road projects and street lights in his institution.
He described the intervention in Bayero University as critical to the institution which had provided a conducive atmosphere for learning in the University thereby boosting the morale of the students and staff in the institution.
In his response, the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Babangida Hussaini who received the delegation on behalf of the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, appreciated the team for the accolades showered on the Ministry and noted that the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to providing infrastructure in every sector of the country provided the needed motivation to the Ministry of Works and Housing to discharge its mandate judiciously.
The Permanent Secretary also stated that the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing has a strong passion to ensure the fulfillment of President Muhammadu Buahari’s commitment to providing infrastructure in all sectors across the states of the federation.
It will be recalled that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing had so far completed and delivered 29 out of 47 road projects executed in various tertiary institutions nationwide.
Other members of the delegation from the university are Deputy Vice Chancellor; Professor Mahmoud Umar Sani, Acting Registrar; Jemila Salim, and Director Liaison Office Abuja; Ibrahim Usman Yakasai.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:
The compelling part of the LBS’ invitation letter to me dated August 31st 2021 signed by Dr. Franklin N. Ngwu is the part which talks about:
“…the need for more public/private sector dialogue and collaboration for Nigeria’s inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development.”
It is about those 3 (three) things: inclusiveness, sustainable growth and development that I wish to focus my intervention today.
But before I do so, let me push back against the part of the letter that says that:
“Some key constraints such as limited trust, lack of information on the opportunities available, impact of policies and business and operational frameworks of engagement limit their collaboration.”
The first question I wish to ask is “limited trust” on whose part?
My appeal to those who have a one-sided view of the public sector is to stand back and take a hard look at the antecedents of many of those who now occupy leadership positions in the public sector.
What you will see is that many of them, including me, spent a sizable part of their careers in the private sector.
Have we become unworthy of trust because we chose to serve?
And speaking of information or lack thereof about opportunities and policies, I recall that it was to this business school that we came for the launch of the Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI) to share information and opportunities regarding the planned concession of 12 highways spanning over 1,000 km of federal road network, and the opportunity for investment growth and job creation.
It is the largest highway concession ever undertaken on the African continent with the potential to create 5,000 direct jobs and 200,000 indirect jobs if successful.
We did not go to a foreign business school to launch the initiative; and there are many we could have gone to, if we so desired. We came to the Lagos Business School, because we wanted a homegrown success.
By way of updates, even though LBS has not come back to ask for one, I can report that out of 75 applicants, 18 have been prequalified, and will soon be requested to submit requests for proposals, environmental and social impact studies are concurrently being undertaken and the national tolling policy has been approved to guide the development of business plans.
Of course, as far as providing information about development and growth goes, many of us regularly brief the public about projects, I go on many project inspection tours to highlight what is going on.
Every quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) releases reports about the growth situations in the economy.
What I have observed of course is that the negative results are readily acceptable and pleasing to some people, while they question the data when the same Bureau announces positive quarterly economic performances.
I will now return to the 3 (THREE) issues of:
b) sustainable growth and
But first, I must set the context.
Between the period 2012 to 2015 Nigeria‘s economy was reportedly growing at between 5% to 7%. But if we all take time to go back to the reviews and reports in the media at the time, the overwhelming response was that it was “jobless growth or “non-inclusive growth.”
This was the story then and it is not a new story. The other context before we proceed is to remind ourselves that at the peak of that growth, sometime in 2014, the then Minister of Finance issued a statement that Nigeria was heading towards a recession.
These were her words:
“There are some difficult moments out there in the international economy and we have noticed a downward slide in oil prices in recent weeks. Nigeria may not be so lucky to avoid recession this time as it did during the last economic meltdown.”
The question to ask is a recession under who’s watch?
My response is that it did not matter who was managing the economy, the recession was inevitable. We had consumed all the prolific and extraordinary income we earned from high prices of crude oil sales.
We did not invest them in infrastructure, new hospitals, universities, rail, bridges, broadband rollout, airports etc.
So the logical issue would be, what is the plan to get out of the recession?
Before I proceed let me quickly deal in broad strokes with some of the things that happen during a recession.
One of them is that it is the “services sector” that first feels the pinch, and when growth returns the services sector is the last to recover and that is when the feel-good factor returns. I will come back to this.
So in deciding what to do when the recession beckons or happens, the first thing to look at is who is managing the economy and what views do they espouse, because this is likely to shape the choices they will make.
Regrettably, many have again fallen into the error of believing the one-sided story that there is no ideology in Nigerian politics or in the political parties.
Nothing could be further from the truth and any worthy scholar who goes through the various party manifestoes will find not only differences but also similarities and this is one thing I commend for further study and analysis by this business school.
Whilst I will do my best not to be overly partisan, I find it difficult to effectively discharge my task without linking policy to politics.
For example, my party professes a progressive ideology and what this simply means is a “commitment to improving the human condition” and this is one difference between us and the others.
Ask them what they profess?
The other difference is that in 6 (SIX) years we have ensured that the average Nigerian remembers what we committed to: anti-corruption; economic development and security. This is a major reason why we have been held accountable.
You have to go back to 1993, (28 years ago); or further back to 1978 (43years), to find a political era where the public remembers what the parties promised during the campaign.
In MKO Abiola’s SDP, the party manifesto hinged on Energy, Rural Development, Education and Defence. In UPN, Awolowo’s 4 (FOUR) cardinal points (Free Education, Free Health Services, Integrated rural development, Employment) were examples of political promises or ideology so clearly articulated and retained.
This is another difference between us and them, and I challenge many here to ask themselves if they can remember two or three things they were promised in the 16 years before us.
With this background I will now go back to the choices for getting out of recession; because we inherited the doomsday which was foretold.
As I have said earlier, in over five years when oil sold about $100 per barrel, we did not invest in infrastructure.
The 2015 Federal Government budget left by our predecessors for Nigeria’s road network was N18 billion, less than the 2015 budget for roads in Lagos State of N31 billion. (Office of Infrastructure budget)
The said budget had a 15% capital component and 85% of the recurrent component. A budget says a lot about what the Government wants to do. Consume 85% and invest 15%, at the time that oil prices were high.
This is another area of vast policy difference between us and them because from the first budget of 2016 we committed to a minimum of 30% capital investment in the annual budget and an expansive infrastructure investment to boost growth, facilitate development and create jobs.
With oil revenues averaging $43 per barrel in 2016, the works budget for roads was cast at N200 Billion naira, an increase of 1011%.
This pattern has continued to date, where we are spending even more on infrastructure with far less resources.
We must remember that with very high oil prices the total FGN budget in 2015 was N4.4 Trillion while the first budget passed under this administration was N6.06 Trillion.
The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017 - 2020 which was developed as the pathway to recovery from recession was underpinned by infrastructure investment as it committed to:
a) Achieving a stable microeconomic environment;
b) Creating a globally competitive economy and
c) Investing in the Nigerian people.
Apart from over 13,000 km of roads and bridges now under construction or rehabilitation nationwide, hitherto very difficult projects, like Bodo-Bonny Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kano Expressway and Second Niger Bridge now underway and heading towards completion before 2023, a generation of Nigerians can now travel by rail in their own country from Lagos to Ibadan and Abuja to Kano for the first time after a very long hiatus.
This did not happen in 16 years before us.
You may not like how we look or what we say, you may even disbelieve what we say but you cannot disbelieve what we have done with limited income on infrastructure.
This is another difference between us and them.
There is yet another difference and it relates to how we the progressives have chosen to deploy resources.
Between 1999 and 2015 all the infrastructure we are talking about today were crying out for attention.
In spite of prolific oil resources in between that period, I ask anyone to show one bridge, major highway, airport or a rail project that our country built.
I will remind you that in 2005 we choose to pay $12.09 billion to negotiate a Paris debt forgiveness when there was infrastructure crying out for attention.
However, by 2015 the debt stock we inherited was $10.3 Billion in spite of prolific oil resources.
That was a policy choice. No debt, no infrastructure while population grows.
On the contrary, with limited resources and commitment to expansionary fiscal investment and infrastructure to improve the living conditions of Nigeria, our budgets have been deficit budgets funded by debts to invest in infrastructure.
It is our belief that instead of increasing the tax burden of Nigerians, if we borrow to build infrastructure, small businesses who need broadband, rail, roads, bridges and other infrastructure will improve their efficiency and create opportunities.
This can only lead to the inclusiveness, sustainable Growth and development that my invitation letter speaks about.
The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan that we developed to address the recession that our predecessors predicted has worked.
By the second quarter of 2017 we were out of the recession that started in Quarter 2 of 2016 and we recorded 12 consecutive quarters of growth until COVID-19 struck.
By staying true to our core beliefs and by developing the Economic Sustainability Plan to deal with the COVID-19 impact, we came out of a second recession which was global and we now have a 5.1 GDP growth in Quarter 2 with services sector growing at 2.8%.
Remember I told you that the services sector is the last sector to recover after recession and this result is therefore clear evidence that the economy is on the mend and we must sustain it and expand it. In this regard I urge cautious optimism.
If you still think we are the same, let me share with you two different quotes from two sides of the divide to disabuse your minds.
The first is by the Vice-Presidential candidate of the main opposition party during the last elections in 2019.
This is what he said on August 8th 2021 about how to grow the economy.
“You cannot use infrastructure to drive economic growth…taking people out of poverty is not magic.”
But contrast President Buhari’s views expressed in Owerri on 9th September 2021 when he said:
“If we fix infrastructure, people will get on with their businesses.”
I am persuaded that President Buhari gets it.
His contemporary in the USA (a country held out as the example to follow) also gets it when he said:
“The American Jobs Plan will generate historic job growth, historic economic growth, help businesses to compete internationally, create more revenue as well. They are among the highest-value investments we can make in the nation — investing in our infrastructure.”
What limits or enhances the capacity of business is the infrastructure in the environment they operate.
The better the infrastructure the more efficient business becomes and the more productive and prosperous they will be.
If they can move goods and services in quicker time, through ports, rail and road, if they can transact financial services through reliable broadband, move fuel through new pipelines like the Ajaokuta-Kaduna pipeline project, if they can traverse about 40 kilometres on the Bodo-Bonny Bridge on land rather on canoes through the creeks, businesses will prosper and the economy will grow.
This in part is what the enablement of this private sector by the public sector means; in addition to fiscal and monetary policy.
This is a clear road to sustainable growth; and it is growth that will need more people to manage it thereby achieving inclusiveness.
Thank you for listening.
Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Honourable Minister of Works and Housing
* As Minister inspects Keffi-Makurdi Road, National Housing Programme, Federal Secretariat in Nasarawa
* “Our role as a progressive government is to improve the human condition”, he says
* Advocates collaboration, rather than agitation, as means to resolve issues arising from compensations
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, has inspected the ongoing Dualization of the 221 KM Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi Road, the National Housing Programme and Federal Secretariat projects in Nasarawa State, declaring that the strategy of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration on infrastructure as a driver of economic growth is working.
Fashola, who also noted that the role of a progressive government is to improve the human condition, advocated collaboration rather than agitation as a means of solving issues like compensation because collaboration would enable government to engage the owners of land and properties along the corridors of ongoing road projects while construction and rehabilitation works continue on such projects.
Responding to a question on Federal Government’s borrowings while interacting with newsmen after inspecting the Road, the Minister, explained that the road is being funded from a China EXIM Bank loan, pointing out that although the decision to borrow from the Chinese bank was initiated by the immediate past administration, the process was completed by the current administration because “It is money borrowed for investment to improve peoples’ lives”.
“I have always told you that my own view of our role as a progressive government is to improve the human condition”, he told the newsmen adding that all the activities along the project corridors, including business and other economic activities, were for improving the human condition.
Listing some of the benefits that would accrue from the project after completion to improve human condition, Fashola said some of them would be the reduction in journey time and cost of travel as well as safety of lives pointing out that an attempt was currently being made to reshape the sharpness of a dangerous curve and reduce the steep slope on the road around Nasarawa-Eggon as a way of reducing accidents in the area.
The Minister said aside the direct jobs generated by the project by way of employment, there are quarrying plants that have come on board as a result of the project and are employing over 100 people while an asphalt plant that has also come into existence is also employing dozens of people.
“These have brought a lot of economic activities around here and along the stretch of this corridor we are employing thousands of people”, he said.
The Minister appealed to the communities to remain peaceful and collaborate with government, especially on the issue of compensation, adding that agitation would only delay the completion of the work.
Noting that the 221 kilometre road runs from the Federal Capital Territory through Nasarawa all the way to Makurdi in Benue State, the Minister explained further, “The Dualization is being undertaken to include a 10-lane expansion of over five kilometres where Abuja joins Nasarawa around Mararaba area”.
Responding to a question on the perceived delay in the project execution, the Minister, who said the contractors are working in Sections, explained further, “There are places where we still need to relocate, to resettle people, we still need to deal with the issues of compensation”, adding that the government was currently working with the governments of Benue and Nasarawa States to ensure that those who would get compensated are the real beneficiaries and not middlemen.
Fashola, who also noted that the road is being expanded, explained, “As you know, we are dualizing, so where one bridge existed before, we now have to build another bridge”, adding that at the end of the Rainy Season the contractors would come back and do the earthwork.
On the Lafia-Shendam Road, Fashola, who noted that the road needed attention even before the Buhari administration came to power, said some rehabilitation work would be done on the road in response to the State governor’s appeal.
“But we cannot do everything at once. If you understand, we have talked about the Loko-Oweto Bridge, we have talked about the Shendam Bridge and there are so many other repair works we are doing. So as these things come, we take them one at a time”, he said.
At the National Housing Programme in Lafia, Fashola, who was joined by the State Governor, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, explained that the programme was being undertaken in Phases in 34 states of the country. He added, “We are now in some states at Phase 3; in many other states we are in Phase 2, and that is why you see some completed and some uncompleted houses here”.
According to the Minister, the programme “is driving other unseen businesses in the SMES those who make and supply all the materials, nails, binding wires, wire boards and lubricants and there are people who provide nourishment at the sites”, he said.
“It is a big value chain of opportunities, so if you see the economy heading towards growth, it shows clearly that the President’s strategy on infrastructure as a driver of growth is working. What is needed now is just to deepen that which we already have. So if somebody comes to tell you that infrastructure does not drive growth tell him that he is talking of home economics, he does not know public financing”, the Minister said.
Fashola, who also visited the Federal Secretariat Complex under construction in Lafia told newsmen that after the creation of the State some 25 years ago there was need to properly accommodate Federal Government workers serving in the State pointing out that the burden of accommodating the workers had put pressure on the facilities belonging to the State.
“When we talk of workers’ welfare, it is not just their salaries and emoluments; it also includes their work environment. This is the place where workers spend the longest part of their days, in fact the longest part of their life and it is very important to make that environment conducive”, Fashola said.
He added that the President has also committed to completing the secretariat projects currently being undertaking across the country “to demonstrate the Federal Government’s commitment to workers’ welfare and that will translate to enhanced productivity”.
Also speaking at the Secretariat Complex site the State Governor, Engr. Sule expressed deep appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister for the number of infrastructure projects going on in the State including the new Secretariat.
Earlier during the courtesy visit to his office, the Governor, who commended Fashola’s inspiring achievements as Governor of Lagos State and now as Minister, declared, “I have nothing else to say than to thank you, thank Mr. President for all the support Nasarawa State has continued to receive. You have mentioned clearly the Nasarawa-Loko-Oweto Bridge that you have completed and even the over N30 Billion that you have just recently approved at FEC in order for us to get that project completed for the 74 kilometre Road.”
Fashola was accompanied on the one day working tour by top Ministry officials including Directors, the Controllers of Works and Housing in the State as well as Special Advisers.
It is a very exciting homecoming for me to return to Bauchi State, named after the ancient and historic Emirate of Bauchi, the home of the Yankari Game Reserve, a great gift of nature to Nigeria.
But Bauchi is not just home to Yankari, it is home to some very great and inimitable patriots who have served our country.
Perhaps Bauchi’s most famous son is Abubakar Tafewa Balewa, but Bauchi also gave Nigeria the Katagums, the Giades, the Toros, the Ahmeds, the Yugudas and so many other illustrious sons and daughters who have dedicated their lives to the service of our nation.
Of course we could not have this event here today without the support and commitment of another Bauchi son, who has followed the path of his illustrious predecessors in public service.
I speak of none other than our chief host HE Sen. Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, former Minister of the Federal Capital and now Governor of Bauchi State.
Your Excellency, I bring to you and the people of Bauchi the goodwill of the Federal Government and the best wishes of President Muhammadu Buhari and thank you for accepting to host this National Council.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the theme chosen for this year‘s council is “Infrastructure delivery, The Maintenance Economy and National Prosperity” and I hope it would help all of us focus on, not just the importance of the investment in infrastructure, but more importantly on the maintenance of infrastructure, the economy around maintenance and sustainable and long lasting jobs that are created through maintenance.
Since the implementation of the Marshall plan in 1948, after the Second World War, it has become clear to any serious minded economist or politician that infrastructure provision is critical to development, growth, wealth creation, employment and prosperity.
I have said and I will repeat it here, that infrastructure investment is the most legitimate way to distribute wealth in any economy.
This is why it is not surprising that during campaigns for elections and after elections, you will find discussions not only centering around roads, bridges, rails, schools, hospitals, water supply and power supply to be provided, you will also find that in the inauguration speech of every President, Prime Minister, Governor and other elected public officers, time is dedicated to addressing the provision of infrastructure.
I am sure our host will recall that he made similar commitments in his inauguration speech on May 29, 2019:
“…at the core of this mandate is the crucial drive to give Bauchi State citizens a better prospect and greater opportunity for a prosperous life. Reducing poverty and empowering our citizens in the areas of Agriculture, Education, urban and rural infrastructure among others.”
The reason for this is not far-fetched. The nations that are richer than us have more infrastructure than us and in order to bridge this gap we have to invest; because no nation or community can grow bigger than the stock of infrastructure.
Infrastructure also helps to make people efficient, it creates competition and leads to productivity. Currently the Federal Government is executing 895 contracts in 795 projects spanning over 13,000 km of roads and bridges nationwide.
Across all of these, engineers, geologists, surveyors, lawyers, bankers, suppliers, artisans and laborers are involved in an ecosystem of enterprise from which they earn a daily, weekly or other periodic income.
But that is only part of the story, the employment. The other parts include improved asset value, because everywhere a new road or bridge is built, the land value appreciates by up to 30% creating enormous capital gain.
On the completed sections of the roads, journeys that used to take days now take only a few hours, journeys that took hours are now reduced to minutes; and if it is true that time is money, clearly reduced journey times currently being delivered across Nigerian roads is money either through savings on journeys and fuel cost, or utilization of time saved for other productive activities, not to mention the Health benefits attributable to shorter travel time and reduced stress.
So when President Buhari committed on June 12, 2019 to taking 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years, his vision was not a Federal Government vision but a national one, which has started with the work being undertaken in all states and FCT and to which the Federal Government is contributing through infrastructure.
In the pursuit of this National vision, I urge all of us to embrace the more wholistic view and definition of poverty as not only the number of jobs, or amount of cash, but also well-being, efficiency and the lack of access.
For example if a one-hour journey takes six hours even in the best car, or land value is stagnant because it lacks an access road, the reversal of these situations by improved journey time or provision of access roads are steps towards prosperity.
Similarly, all those employed in the process of building the roads, surveyors, contractors, engineers, bankers, artisans, suppliers and lawyers have certainly been impacted on the income side.
Regrettably we cannot build forever and so when the infrastructure project is completed, most of those employed in the building must leave the site to look for new opportunities.
This is the heart of the matter and this is the message that the theme of this council seeks to focus on. What should we do in addition to building infrastructure, in order to keep the jobs on.
The answer, Ladies and Gentlemen is simple. We must maintain the infrastructure we built.
This is important for many reasons, the first of which is that we preserve the life of the infrastructure and get the best value for the money we spent on it.
The second reason is that a maintenance economy is a critical contributor and driver of GDP in many economies around the world.
You will notice that I have spoken about a “maintenance economy” not a “maintenance culture.” This is because maintenance is not a cultural thing, it is an existential matter of survival, bread and butter and income.
Available data shows that in the “built industry” only about 30% of the manpower is employable by design and construction which lasts until the project is completed; while the remaining 70% are employed in the process of “operation” and “maintenance” of the infrastructure.
These are the reasons why the development of a maintenance economy must commend itself to all of us here and why we must all return home not only to think about it, but to do something about it.
The question is what needs to be done? My answer is that we must develop policies to stimulate the economy of maintenance.
All that we need to do is take a look at the state of existing infrastructure, and we are likely to see bridges with damaged expansion joints and bearings, buildings with broken windows and leaking pipes, doors that do not lock properly, toilets that do not work well and so much more.
If we reflect on what we see, we will realize that these are jobs for plumbers, carpenters, printers, foundry workers and many more skilled and unskilled people in our country and it is our responsibility to connect these people to the opportunities that infrastructure in disrepair represents for sustainable employment.
The Federal Government has already initiated such a policy in 2019, and we are now at implementation stage.
This has seen the Head of the Federal Civil Service approve the creation of the Department for Federal Public Asset Maintenance.
The next step is for each Ministry Department and Agency (MDA) of government to set up their own units for maintenance, undertake a condition assessment of their infrastructure, develop a maintenance plan, and implement the procurement for annual periodic and scheduled maintenance.
You might want to ask what this will do? My answer is that it will immediately begin to create jobs.
From the first stage of condition assessment, people are employed to inspect, assess, measure, document, photograph and do many things in the process of ascertaining what the infrastructure needs.
In 9 (nine) facilities that we assessed the conditions of fittings such as fans, air conditioners, light fittings, toilets and wash hand basin, we found that out of 41,800 installations 12,459 representing 29.8% were not functioning. These are people’s jobs to repair, supply, replace and install as the case may be.
The development of the maintenance plan and the procurement plan leading to invitation to tender and award of maintenance contracts for rehabilitation and facility management is a sure pathway to job creation.
Currently we are undertaking maintenance works on 41 (Forty-One) bridges that has employed 1,157 people directly and created 3,309 indirect jobs and we have facility management contracts for 25 federal secretariats across Nigeria after we completed renovation works. Each facility manager employs at least 40 people.
This is only a tip of the iceberg because the supply side that supports maintenance involves the purchase and supply of paint, bleach, rakes, brooms and other tools which create employment for small and medium size enterprises which is another activity of economic empowerment.
When we started the office of Facility Management in Lagos State, I recall one day when we awarded contracts for the facility management of 600 schools. This was employment not only for 600 small contractors but also for the people that were employed to do the job.
Ladies and Gentlemen, when we see functional and efficient public assets in other parts of the world there is no secret to it. It is evidence of a maintenance economy led by government.
Our federal maintenance initiative has assessed schools, courts, hospitals, correctional facilities and police buildings and is getting ready to commence work on them. I commend the same to you in your states if you want to create sustainable jobs.
Thank you for listening.
Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN
Honourable Minister of Works and Housing
The Honourable members representing Biu/Bayo/Kwaya Kvsar/Shani Federal Consitutency of Borno State, Hon. Murtar Aliyu Betara and his counterpart representing Chibok /Dambon /Gwoza Constituency Hon. Ahmed Jaha Babawo also in Borno State have expressed appreciation to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing on the award of contract for the re-construction of Gombe-Biu road, and urged the Ministry to ensure the contractor expedite action to complete the road.
Honourable Betara who led the delegation of some House of Representatives Members to the Ministry in order to follow up on the state of some critical roads in their states and the strategy of the Ministry in fixing the roads noted that some of the contractors were complaining of funding challenges.
In his response the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Babaginda Hussaini appreciated the gesture of the law makers in dialoguing with the Ministry in order to fix the critical roads in their constituencies adding that such collaboration with the Ministry by the National Assembly will help the government in its bid to improve road infrastructure. He also said that the gesture was a clear demonstration of love for their constituencies.
Mr. Babaginda informed the law makers that the major challenge in road infrastructure development was funding as the budgetary allocation was grossly inadequate to address the needs in the road sector.
He however informed the law makers that this administration had created new funding windows for road construction and repairs which has greatly helped in bridging funding gaps
The Permanent Secretary said “On behalf of the Honourable Minister Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN and the Management of the Ministry, I wish to reaffirm the commitment of this administration to complete all critical road projects as practically possible.’
Furthermore, Mr. Hussaini averred that the Ministry was engaging with the contractors since the rains have abated in most parts of the country.
In the same vein, the House of Representatives member representing Zuru /Fakai /Danko Wasaru –Sakaba Federal constituency of Kebbi State also expressed appreciation to the Federal Government for constructing the Gadar – Zaima –Zuru - Gamji road which has aided trading activities in the area.
Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Babangida Hussaini said the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration is creating jobs for Nigerians through construction of mass housing nationwide.
Hussaini who made the remarks at the ongoing 10th National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development holding in Lagos State was represented at the occasion by the Director Lands and Housing of the Ministry, Mrs. Great- Edereka.
The theme of the Council meeting is "Housing Development as a Catalyst for Job Creation, Social Inclusion and Economic Development."
Hussaini restated the commitment of the Federal Government towards the creation of employment for the citizens through mass housing construction across the states.
The Permanent Secretary said that the present administration is committed to addressing critical economic challenges confronting the country as well as lifting hundred Nigerians out of poverty through creation of jobs and sustenance of an inclusive egalitarian society.
He explained that the construction of mass housing by the federal government under the National Housing Programme has led to the creation of numerous jobs both directly and indirectly, pointing out that it has positively impacted immensely on the economy.
"This Programme has impacted massively on the national economy through the creation of direct and indirect jobs," he said.
The Permanent Secretary disclosed that the federal government had embarked on the construction of decent and affordable mass housing nationwide under the National Housing Programme (NHP) and also strengthened collaboration with the organised private sector under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) to provide same to Nigerians.
Hussaini also disclosed that in a bid to realise President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision to expand the infrastructure and housing stock of the nation, the Ministry has adequately supported the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria and Federal Housing Authority with all the necessary assistance needed.
While urging the participants to engage in a robust deliberation on memoranda presented before them, he noted that it was the responsibility of stakeholders in the built industry to ensure that housing development served as a catalyst for job creation, social inclusion and economic development.
Hussaini said "The task of ensuring that housing development serves as a catalyst for job creation, social inclusion and economic development rest on the shoulders of all the stakeholders in the industry," therefore " I urge all stakeholders in the industry to make good use of the opportunity provided by the council meeting to deliberate on memoranda submitted towards formulating and strengthening policies that will address housing development in Nigeria."
Speaking earlier, the Honourable Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Lagos State, TPL Dr. Idris Salako, revealed that the Lagos State Government had relaxed some policies to encourage investments in the Real Estate Sector for housing provision by lifting embargoes from areas that were under various ban.
He explained that the advantages of the policy relaxation included: availability of more land for housing delivery, abundant job creation to engage professionals, technicians and artisans in the production line of the housing sector.
The day three of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development Meeting is the day of the meeting of the body of Permanent Secretaries under the Chairmanship of the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
The meeting was to deliberate and brainstorm on the memoranda earlier produced during the first two days meeting of the technical officers and directors of relevant agencies in the built industry.
The body of the Permanent Secretaries will forward their report to the higher body of States' Commissioners meeting of the built industry under the Chairmanship of the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing for final endorsement.
· Says purpose is to find solutions to the problems created by months of rainfall and adverse weather on Federal Roads.
· Appeals to Motorists to comply with traffic regulations, especially 100 KM Speed Limit
· NARTO, NUPENG, NURTW, FERMA, FRSC, FG’s Contractors fully represented
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, has presided over the seasonal EMBER Months Rehabilitation Briefing in Abuja advocating a synergy among all the stakeholders in the nation’s road transportation sector to achieve a safe and pleasurable travel experience during the coming festivities.
Addressing stakeholders made up of representatives of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Petroleum Truck Drivers Chapter of the NUPENG, and National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) , the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) as well as government contractors, Fashola said the only way to achieve the said objective was to work in collaboration during the period.
The Minister, who noted that adverse weather has always posed a challenge to nations globally, pointed out that the only solution was to plan for such periods and ensure that whatever damages or failures caused by such adverse weather were addressed immediately after the period to restore status of the roads.
Referring to the presentations earlier made by some of the Agencies of government, Fashola noted that it was a result of many weeks of planning, likening it to the recent Ministerial Retreat where all the Ministers’ Sectoral activities were evaluated.
The Minister said aside the transport unions and other road users, the meeting was also important for contractors pointing out that although the period was the time contractor would like to continue their main projects it was equally important to create a period during which the contractors would work on the failures to enable travellers have a pleasurable time during the period.
Fashola said the Ministry chose to hold the meeting because, “It is a festive period, it is a period of heightened movement of goods and services, a period when families reunite, it is a period when our brothers and sisters from other parts of the world come home, it is also a time when some people get married”.
“This is the reality of our live experience. All of the people involved in transportation, whether Aviation, whether shipping, it is a very busy period, the port is busier during the period, airports are busier during the period and so are the roads”, the Minister said.
Pointing out that construction still takes place during the period, he added, “contractors at this period are usually more interested in continuing their main work rather than going to repair failures, in order to complete their main contract. So what we try to do is to get them to realize that what interests the road users at this time is not the new road but the part they cannot pass”.
Fashola said the Ministry has also commenced a plan ahead of the EMBER period because, according to him, “During December to January things seem to normalize. Between January and June vehicles rarely get stuck” adding that on roads like Lagos-Otta, Calabar-Itu, vehicles rarely get stuck during the period”.
“It is from July through August and September when the rains start that vehicles get stuck”, the Minister said adding that while the rains may favour the fisherman and the farmer, the transporter, whether Aviation, Shipping on Road, the rain poses challenges to all transport logisticians.
“Whether it is shipping, whether it is Aviation, whether it is the road, bad weather poses challenges to all transport logisticians. Flight are cancelled, ships can’t sail, water flood roads and rail stations. We see them all over the world whether as typhoons or hurricanes”, he said. He noted, however that such periods of discomfort which last for a short while, should not be a reason to stop the movement of people.
Pointing out that the meeting helps the stakeholders to gather and find solution to the challenges and facilitate the movement of people, Fashola explained that strike as threatened by one of the stakeholders was not a solution adding that it would serve the people better if every stakeholder joins in finding solution to the challenges.
The Minister stressed the need for evolving strategies to solve the problem posed by adverse weather on the nation’s roads saying going on strike would impose more hardship on the people, who, according to him, are struggling to make ends meet.
Recalling the presentation made earlier by the Director Highways, Construction and Rehabilitation who put the amount needed to effect repairs on the identified road failures across the country at N75 billion, the Minister, who said the year’s budget could not cover such an amount added that the only alternative was to seek alternative sources of funding including borrowing.
He charged those who criticise the government’s borrowing to proffer a solution or the alternative to borrowing so that the needed amount could be raised to carry out the needed repairs. According to him, such critics are only familiar with home economic but do not know public financing.
“In your home you can stop some things, in public financing you cannot stop anything. You cannot stop building the roads, you cannot stop the provision of security, you can’t stop packing refuse. It has to be done,” he said.
Describing the nation’s transport strategy as the “Eight Wonder of the World”, Fashola said a situation where all heavy cargoes such as petroleum products and other heavy equipment are transported by road could not be described any other way pointing out that it is only in Nigeria that it was happening.
“There is no country where they do what we are doing transporting all heavy cargoes by road”, the Minister said expressing the hope that as the rail network increases more of such heavy cargoes would be moved by rail transportation. “That is when we will have real value of the roads”, he said.
Appealing to the road users, especially the cargo handlers and other transporters such as the petroleum tanker and truck drivers as well as others commercial drivers to comply with traffic regulations, Fashola said adding, “One of the road regulations I would like you to comply with is the Maximum Speed Limit on our highways. It is 100 kilometres not 101 kilometres”.
“Help us tell your members. All the data that we have about road accident show us that speed violation is the largest contributor. It is excessive speeding that is the largest contributor. Our responsibility is to build the roads but the responsibility of enforcement of regulations is FRSC’s work”, the Minister told the transport unions.
He disclosed that the Ministry has started calibrating the nation’s weighbridges adding that the government would henceforth start enforcing regulations starting from Lagos and urged the FRSC to begin this season to intensify enforcement of regulations, especially ensuring that any driver behind the wheels has a valid drivers’ license.
In his presentation earlier, the Director Highways, Construction and Rehabilitation, Engr. Folorunsho Esan had said 194 damaged roads sections “in the six geo-political zones and major links to the 36 States of the Federation that required urgent palliative works to avoid further deterioration were identified” were identified during the surveys directed by the Minister adding that N75.8 billion would be required to fix them. However, due to paucity of funds, the Department identified 14 critical road corridors with heavy vehicular traffic that need repairs to ensure smooth travels across the country during the yuletide season.
In his presentation, the representative from FERMA said the agency identified damages within 17 road corridors across the country, including Lagos-Shagamu-Benin-Asaba-Onitsha, Lokoja- Kabba- Omuo-Ifaki-Ado Ekiti, Umuahia-Ikot-Ekpene-Uyo, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Akwanga-Jos, Kano-Azare-Potiskum and Zaria-Funtua-Gusau-Sokoto, among others.
Also in their presentations, representatives of major contractors, such as CGC, RCC, JBN, ARAB Contractors, Mothercat, CCECC and Sermatech, among others, acknowledged the directives of the Minister to provide palliatives to road sections within their projects damaged by the rains and promised compliance.
Earlier in his opening remark, the Permanent Secretary, Engr. Babangida Hussaini, said the purpose of the yearly meeting was to take stock of challenges posed by the passing Rainy Season and provide solutions in order to ensure shorter travel time and pleasurable journey across the country during the festivities.
Also present at the briefing were Directors, Federal Controllers of Works from some of the States and Special Advisers from the Ministry as well as contractors and other and other stakeholders.
Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, has called on motorists to be cautious and obey traffic rules during this EMBER period.
Fashola, who was spoke at an interactive session with stakeholders in the transport industry organized by his Ministry, stressed the importance of obeying rules and regulations guiding the use of Nigerian roads, especially during the coming festive period.
Lamenting the loss of lives resulting from accidents on Nigeria roads, the Minister charged the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) to ensure that road users do not exceed the speed limit of 100 kilometres per hour recommended by the law.
He further urged the leaders of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and National Union of Petroleum and Gas (NUPENG) to sensitize their members on the voluntary compliance with road safety regulations, pointing out that excessive speeding and disobedience to traffic rules were among the major cause of accidents.
“I want to appeal mostly on compliance with road regulations. What I want to appeal for is the maximum speed limit on highway. It is 100kilometres, not 101 kilometres; help us to tell your members not to exceed 100 kilometres. It is important, that is the first step to save life,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the Director, Highways Rehabilitation and Construction, Engineer, Funso Esan, noted that 194 failures have been identified on14 critical roads recording heavy traffic for urgent repairs during the yuletide period in order to ease traffic and ensure more pleasurable travel experience for motorists.
He explained that the Ministry would award emergency repair contracts to any contractor who could work at short notice to fix the roads. “We need you very urgently to carry out palliatives on our roads”, Esan told the contactors.
In attendance were the representatives of National Union Road Transport Workers, (NURTW), National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) and Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Gas (NUPENG).
- Call for commissioning of completed projects as means to publicize achievements in road transportation infrastructure.
Members of the Senate Committee on Works on Friday commended the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, and his Team for the progress so far made on the on-going construction, rehabilitation, and expansion of roads across the country.
The Committee members who made the commendation when they paid an Oversight visit to the Ministry, also called for the commissioning of completed projects saying it would enable Nigerians know and appreciate what the Muhammadu Buhari administration has been doing with the nation’s resources since inception.
Addressing the Management of the Ministry, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, Senator Adamu Aliero, expressed appreciation on the work of the Ministry in terms of road construction and rehabilitation saying it has become necessary to commission the finished projects for the Nigerian public to see.
The Chairman who said the Committee recently concluded a nationwide tour of the road and bridge projects, declared, “We have to let the public know what the President has done in the road sector. I appeal that you take the initiative to commission the completed parts or sections of the roads”.
Also speaking in the same vein, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, noted that a lot has been achieved in the last six years in the road sector but because the completed roads were not being commissioned, most Nigerians found it difficult to appreciate the achievements.
Senator Ekweremadu noted that some of the contractors have done well in carrying out their assignments on the road projects while others have not and thus recommended that in the face of paucity of funds, those contractors doing good jobs should be paid while those not doing well should be sanctioned. He added that it was better to use available funds to pay those contractors performing well instead of waiting for those who are not doing well.
In his remarks, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, who described the progress so far made on the on-going road construction and rehabilitation nationwide as tremendous, declared, “This administration has done very well by moving people from poverty to prosperity”, pointing out that it has completed almost all the projects inherited from the previous administration.
He told the Minister, “I appreciate what you are doing even though you will receive a lot of criticisms, we know you are doing well”. Also reiterating the importance of commissioning the completed projects, the lawmaker said, “We have to blow our own trumpet to make Nigerians know what we are doing”.
In his remarks, the Minister explained that the concern of the Ministry was principally to ensure completion of the roads to give Nigerians quality travel time in terms of journey time and experience adding that Federal roads are very long roads that connect cities and states as opposed to the intra-city roads.
“I have continuously explained to people that the roads that belong to the federal government are very long roads. They are roads that connect cities and states together, unlike intra-city roads that connect local governments together”.
“So, sometimes somebody will ask me ‘when are you going to commission the roads’. And I ask them, “How, for instance, do you commission Kano-Maiduguri Road; where do you start the commissioning from”, the Minister said.
According to him, “Completion happens in the way we do construction, you close up a Section of the road while constructing and after finishing, you open it up for use. The day you start driving on the roads, it means the roads have been commissioned”.
Noting that commissioning was better suited for municipal roads of five to ten kilometres, Fashola, however promised that the Ministry would consider commissioning some of the completed roads adding that the priority at the moment was to give Nigerians a good road network especially during the coming EMBER MONTHS.
In the robust question and answer session, some of the Lawmakers raised the issue of delays in the completion of some major roads, especially those leading or passing through their constituencies or districts urging the Minister to use his good offices to ensure their completion before the exit of the administration.
Responding, Fashola listed some reasons for apparent delays in project completion to include, paucity of funds, topography of the project location and problems of climate change pointing out that the Rainy Season in Nigeria is always very challenging, especially to road construction.
“The other point I want to make is that the Rainy Season is always very challenging in Nigeria in terms of transport logistics”, the Minister said adding that roads through swampy or muddy terrains always pose more difficulties during construction as the top soils have to be replaced.
On the issue of the major projects funded under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) initiative – Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the 2nd Niger Bridge-, Fashola said much progress have been made on them adding the Buhari administration was committed to delivering them before 2023.
The Media Office of the Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, has urged well-meaning people to disregard the invitation of some Groups, operating under The Nigeria Project 2023, purportedly to the inauguration of a Support Group for the Minister and the Governor of Borno State over the 2023 elections.
The social media was awash at the weekend with a poster from the Group allegedly presenting the Honorable Minister and the Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum as Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates respectively of an unnamed political party.
Ordinarily, the poster and the various social media reports almost instantly orchestrated on its account would have been ignored as the handwork of mischief makers. However, it became necessary to issue this disclaimer for two key reasons.
The first of such was to answer with a strong negative to the numerous inquiries from right thinking and well-meaning Nigerians on whether the Honorable Minister had been contacted or if the Groups had his consent in issuing the invitation.
Without equivocation, no individual or Group has contacted the Honorable Minister for or on behalf of The Nigeria Project 2023. As Honorable Minister, Mr Fashola is currently focused on leading his dedicated Team in the Ministry of Works and Housing to deliver on the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari for an expanded and upgraded road transport infrastructure; and affordable Housing nationwide in order to achieve economic growth and prosperity for the citizenry.
Secondly, is the fact that entities unknown to a political party cannot present candidates on behalf of such a political party. As a ranking and loyal member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the individual and groups cited as promoters of The Nigeria Project 2023 are unknown to the APC and the Honorable Minister.
Against the backdrop of the foregoing, the Honorable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN urges members of the public to be wary of the antics of unsolicited individuals and Support Groups whose real intentions remain questionable. Every support possible should be given to the efforts of the current administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to deliver a better nation for all.Read More
The Federal Government has appealed for understanding of truck drivers on the ongoing construction work on Bida-Lambata road, saying that government is committed to deliver a quality work that will stand the test of time for the benefit of the users.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Babangida Hussaini made this appeal over the weekend.
Hussaini was reacting to the blockade of a section of the Bida -Lambata and Suleja - Minna roads by some articulated trucks drivers in Niger State, protesting that government should expedite action to complete the ongoing construction to ease their difficulties in using the roads.
" I am appealing to the truck drivers for understanding of the efforts of the Federal government in fixing this road. This Bida-Lambata road is among the many other ongoing projects across the nation which the government prioritised to deliver," he said.
Hussaini also noted that the rehabilitation work has not reached the sections that collapsed but the Contractor has been directed to do palliative work on all such sections while the contruction progress as scheduled.
He however lamented that the contractor has been denied access to the road due to blockade by the tanker drivers.
The Permanent Secretary stated that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari gives premium to providing road infrastructure across the country as a way of improving the social and economic well-being of the people.
He assured the truck drivers that the Federal Government through the Federal Controller of Works in Niger State is working round the clock with the contractors on site to ensure not only timely completion but to deliver a qualitative road that would stand the test of time.
...Emphasizes maintenance of infrastructure as critical job creation and sustenance strategy
..Bauchi State Government acknowledges President Buhari’s infrastructure development strides
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN has charged participants at the 27th Meeting of the National Council on Works in Bauchi, Bauchi State to activate the infrastructure maintenance economy in their respective states in order to create wealth and sustain long term jobs for citizens.
Addressing Council Members at the 27th Meeting of the National Council on Works the Minister said since the implementation of the Marshall plan in 1948, after the Second World War, it has become clear to any serious-minded economist or politician that infrastructure provision is critical to development, growth, wealth creation, employment and prosperity.
Speaking on the theme of the 27th Meeting of the National Council on Works: “Infrastructure Delivery, Maintenance Economy and National Prosperity”, he said: “I hope it would help all of us focus on, not just the importance of the investment in infrastructure, but more importantly on the maintenance of infrastructure, the economy around maintenance and sustainable and long-lasting jobs that are created through maintenance.”
According to Fashola, the heart of the matter and the message participants should all take home from the Meeting of the 27th Meeting of the National Council on Works is on what should be done in addition to building infrastructure, in order to keep the jobs on. “The answer, Ladies and Gentlemen is simple. We must maintain the infrastructure we build,” he charged all and sundry.
Speaking on maintenance economy, he said: “This is important for many reasons, the first of which is that it preserves the life of the infrastructure and get the best value for the money we spent on it.”
He explained further that maintenance economy is a critical contributor and driver of GDP in many economies around the world.
He said: “You will notice that I have spoken about a “maintenance economy” not a “maintenance culture.” This is because maintenance is not a cultural thing, it is an existential matter of survival, bread and butter and income.”
“Available data shows that in the “built industry” only about 30% of the manpower is employable by design and construction which lasts until the project is completed; while the remaining 70% are employed in the process of “operation” and “maintenance” of the infrastructure,” he said.
Speaking on the need for investment on infrastructure, the Minister said that the nations that are richer have more infrastructure than the country and in order to bridge this gap must invest saying that “No nation or community can grow bigger than the stock of infrastructure.”
He explained: “Infrastructure also helps to make people efficient, it creates competition and leads to productivity. Currently the Federal Government is executing 895 contracts in 795 projects spanning over 13,000 km of roads and bridges nationwide.”
Delivering his opening address, the Executive Governor of Bauchi State, His Excellency, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed who was represented by the Deputy-Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Baba Tela acknowledged the contributions of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration on infrastructure development across the country.
The Governor further said that his administration was also focused on reversing the trend of infrastructure deficit and decay that has held back the socio-economic development of the state.
He said: “As a deliberate policy, we have since assumption of office over two years ago, embarked on the provision of infrastructure that has direct bearing on the socio-economic life of our people.”
Speaking on infrastructure renaissance, he said that the state had embarked on accelerated urban renewal and rural development programme. “Within the last two years, our government has completed or about to complete over twenty-five roads covering over 200 kilometres in urban and semi urban areas across the state,” he said.
He commended the Federal Government for the support of the state urban renewal drive through the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. “We are particularly appreciative of President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval for the expansion of dual carriage ways of two major Federal Highways that lead into Bauchi metropolis.
In his remarks the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Babangida Hussaini thanked all Council members for attending the Council meeting and urged them to go back and implement all Council resolutions.
In attendance at the 27th Meeting of the National Council on Works were the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, the Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, representative of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Commissioners of Works across the states of the country,the Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, the Permanent Secretaries of Ministry of Works from the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, captains in the built industry and other critical stakeholders in the works sector of the economy.
After the Council Meeting, the Honourable Minister inspected the expansion of the Bauchi-Ningi dual carriage way and the Phase 1 of the 2016 National Housing Programme in Bauchi.
On the National Housing Programme, the Minister said that the one, two and three bedroom semi-detached bungalows are meant for all and that subscription to it would be done online through a dedicated portal to ensure transparency and avoid undue human interference.
“It's clear that the President's strategy on Infrastructure as a driver of growth is working ", he says
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, has called on the people affected by the ongoing road construction project in Nasarawa and Benue States to embrace dialogue and peaceful engagements towards resolving issues related to compensation rather than seeking recourse to agitations.
The Minister, who made the call during his inspection tour of the ongoing Dualization of the 221 kilometres Keffi - Akwanga-Lafia - Makurdi Road, Tuesday, September 21st, 2021, declared, “Agitations don't solve problems, it is engagements and collaborations".
Fashola, who was responding to a question from a journalist on the efforts of the Federal Government to compensate those affected by the project along the road said that the Federal government was closely working with the Benue and Nasarawa States to resolve the issues.
He pointed out that the Federal Government was making a deliberate and careful effort to ensure that the real beneficiaries get the compensation and not middlemen.
Explaining further, Fashola said that the 221 kilometres Dualization being undertaken includes a 10-lane expansion over five kilometers where Abuja joins Nasarawa state around Mararaba area.
He disclosed that work is yet to begin on the areas that still have issues of resettlement, relocation and compensation until such issues are resolved.
The Minister explained that funding for the project was secured through a China EXIM loan, adding that the decision to borrow the fund for the project was taken before the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
"The decision to borrow this money was taken before our administration. So we just completed the process that has been started, a process that we own because this is money borrowed for investment to improve people's lives", he said.
The Minister who was later joined by the Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, also inspected the National Housing Programme (NHP) and Federal Secretariat Complex in the state capital, Lafia.
On the economic benefits of the projects, Fashola said, the projects will drive the economy and create jobs for the people, as so many people have been employed directly or indirectly through the infrastructure developments.
"If you see the economy beginning to head towards growth it's clear that the President's strategy on Infrastructure as a driver of growth is working ", he said.
Earlier during a courtesy visit to Governor Abdullahi Sule, the Minister appealed to the Governor to establish a park for the trailers in order to protect the roads from being damaged, pointing out that the parking of trailers and the pouring of lubricants; diesel and oil on the roads by the drivers negatively affect the life span of the roads .
In his response, the Governor expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister for their commitment to the development of infrastructure in Nasarawa State.
Governor Sule also told the Minister that the State was already establishing trailer parks across the state to protect the roads from being damaged through indiscriminate parking on the shoulders and to avoid the incidence of such areas becoming criminal hideouts.
He urged the Federal Government to consider working on more roads in the state.
On the Minister's entourage during the inspection tour were some Directors the State's Controllers of both Works and Housing of the Ministry and Special Advisers.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mr. Babangida Hussaini has called on the body of Permanent Secretaries in the Works sector to be committed to and engage in thorough deliberations to come out with recommendations that meet standard requirements for the Council Meeting that will be chaired by the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN on Thursday, September 23, 2021.
Hussaini made the call during the meeting of the Permanent Secretaries at the 27th Meeting of the National Council on Works taking places in Bauchi, Bauchi State.
He said that, “The essence of this meeting therefore is for the body of Permanent Secretaries of Works to further consider and refine the recommendations of the Technical Meeting of the Directors which had already realigned some memoranda.”
He added that Technical Meeting of the Directors had also merged some memoranda with similar purposes and contents, pointing out that some memoranda were stepped down for further consideration by relevant professional bodies in the works sector.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Honourable Commissioner, Bauchi State Ministry of Works and Transport, Alhaji Abdulkadir Ibrahim said that the administration of his Excellency, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed had done significant work in the areas of provision of portable water, construction and rehabilitation of roads, blocks of classrooms in both primary and secondary schools, health facilities and provision of farming implements.
He stated that it was for the interest and respect for the Council that made the Governor of the Sate to graciously approve the hosting of the 27th Meeting of the Council of Works in Bauchi, Bauchi State.
Ibrahim commended participants that have been deliberating on the various memoranda by the Federal and State Ministries of Works, stakeholders and other organizations that have been playing significant roles in the development of infrastructure in Nigeria. “I therefore enjoin the Permanent Secretaries to examine the various recommendations meticulously with a view to make appropriate recommendations to Council for deliberation,” he charged.
FASHOLA INSPECTS THE ONGOING CONSTRUCTION OF THE FEDERAL SECRETARIAT COMPLEX, YENAGOA IN BAYELSA STATE
Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN (middle) speaking with journalists shortly after inspecting the ongoing construction of the Federal Secretariat Complex, Yenagoa in Bayelsa State on Tuesday, 28th September 2021.
FASHOLA DELIVERS THE 39TH ANNUAL OLUMIDE MEMORIAL LECTURE ORGANIZED BY THE NIGERIAN INSTITUTION OF SURVEYORS (NIS) IN ABUJA
Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN (left) being welcomed by the former Minister of Environment, Surveyor Suleiman Hassan Zarma and President, Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, Surveyor Kayode Oluwamotemi shortly before delivering the 39th Annual Olumide Memorial Lecture organized by the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) on the theme, " Human Capital and Institution Building," at the Chida International Hotel, Utako, Abuja on Thursday 14th October 2021.