Minister of Power, Works and Housing spoke to the press at a conference that took place in Abuja. In his speech, Fashola gave details of his plans to put life and vitality back into Power, Works and Housing projects in Nigeria. He pointed out that the focus on roads is to complete those already at some level of completion.
Based on his statement, about 200 road contracts were done halfway and revitalizing them would create 20,000 jobs thereby reducing unemployment which is predominate in the country. Speaking on power, Fashola stated that work is being done to improve on National output. According to him, the Ministry of Petroleum is building new pipes to convey gas to the power generation company. If the Ministry succeeds in completing the construction in 15 months which is the number of months it is expected to be completed, it would potentially add 2,000 megawatts to the current power situation. Fashola further revealed that government would support local manufacturing of meters as an opportunity for entrepreneurship.
In his words:
We have more power generation than is being transmitted. The Transmission Company of Nigeria says it has 142 transmission projects on-going; 45 of them at 50% completion, 22 of them can be completed within a year. This will improve power. We need to reconfigure our roots for us to be able to install solar panels.
Speaking on government’s plans to build 40 blocks of 12 flats per block, in each state of the federation, Fashola stated that the said plan will provide 480 flats per state. But the states will have to make 5 to 10 hectares of land available for the project. Government priority is on refinancing and completion of the outstanding 200 road contracts before new contracts are introduced. He said that as a short-term strategy, the ministry would start with quick completion of ongoing inter-state roads in order to facilitate connectivity, before working on those that bear heavy traffic.
On climate, he said:
Nigeria made pledges at the climate change conference COP 21 and we pledge to fulfill these agreements. However, it will be in accordance with national priorities. Government is standing down slowly but surely to allow the economics of supply and demand to take place.
On all matters, the minister said;
Maintenance would be our watchword. We are setting up a robust maintenance regime to keep our highways in good shape.
This shows that tolling is necessary to support government funding. So, it will not be too much if we ask every road user to pay little to augment government funding for road maintenance.
It is imminent common sense for us to find that money. We will use technology; so if we don’t pay cash, you will pay by tokens or tickets and the money is accountable and it will go to the right place.
To a grunt at the mention of fees, he said;
We will manage that fund properly and we will hold those who we put there to account.”
We commit all our skills, energies, and collective integrity unreservedly to playing our part, but how much success we deliver is dependent also on the citizens’ commitment to their own part.’’
Clearly, good roads will help re-position and grow our economy, reduce travel time, cost of transportation of goods and services, and restore jobs that have been lost to transport-dependent services.
Some of the numbers from only four construction companies that were sampled, suggest that at least 5,150 workers have been laid off as at March 11, 2015.
If each contractor has only 100 employees at each of the 200 contract sites, it means at least that 20,000 people who lost their jobs can return to work, if the right budget is put in place and funded for contractors to get paid.
The possibility to return those who have just lost their jobs back to work is the kind of change that we expect to see by this short-term strategy.”
He also urged everyone who is infringing on the right of way, to dismantle the inappropriate structures on their own before the government starts the demolition of such structures.
In order to make the roads safer, we intend to re-claim the full width of all Federal roads, representing 16 per cent and about 36,000km of Nigeria’s road network.
We are immediately now asking all those who are infringing on our highways, whether by parking, trading, or erection of any inappropriate structure to immediately remove, relocate or dismantle such things voluntarily.
This will be the biggest contribution that citizens can offer our country as proof that we all want things to change for the better,”