The Federal Government through the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has signed a tripartite agreement with the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) and Julius Berger Nigeria Plc (JBN) to build the Bodo-Bonny Road with Bridges across the Opobo Channel Routes 430 in Rivers State.
The Honourable Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, on behalf of Government, signed the over 120 billion naira project awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc (JBN) at the Ministry’s Headquarters in Abuja.
Fashola stated that the Bodo-Bonny Bridge is a major infrastructural project that linked Nigeria to where so much resources are produced, adding that the signing of the tripartite agreement signifies the commencement of construction work and government’s commitment to clean up, build up and repositioned the Niger Delta as a major contributor to Nation’s resources.
The Minister further stated that, this is in fulfilment with the present Administration’s promise to deliver on critical infrastructural projects across the nation and put the economy back on the path of growth and development.
Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, Mr Tony Attah on behalf of Management and Staff of Nigeria LNG appreciated the Federal Government and the Minister for the signing of the tripartite agreement and the opportunity for the part-funding of the construction of the Bodo-Bonny Road project.
Attah further stated that the provision of the road will no doubt expand the scope of economic opportunities and secure livelihoods for the rural and riverine communities. He added that the construction of Bodo-Bonny road will invariably usher the accomplishment of long held dream of connecting Bonny Island to the rest of Nigeria.
On his part, the Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Engr. Wolfgand Goetsch thanked the Federal Government and Nigeria LNG for the trust and confidence reposed on the company, assuring that the project will be completed within the time stipulated and in accordance to specification.
The project which was first awarded in 1993, suffered series of delays and abandonments. The Ministry thereafter terminated the contract due to the dismal performance of the contractor and re-awarded the project to JBN which has proven experience in handling projects in difficult terrains of mangrove/swamp forest and creeks.
The expected date of completion of Bodo-Bonny project is in 2019.
The Staff Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society of the Housing Sector of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has taken a giant step by aligning with the Ministry’s core mandate of ensuring adequate and sustainable housing delivery.
The Permanent Secretary (Works and Housing), Alhaji Mohammed Bukar, represented by the Director, Human Resources Management, Mrs. Morayo Alimi stated this at the commissioning of 9-unit 2 bedroom flats located in Kubwa metropolis of Abuja built by the Staff Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society.
The project, which is an initiative of the society, was constructed within six months under the supervision and collaboration of professionals in the ministry.
Alimi expressed elation that the project was constructed during her tenure, noting that it is a pointer to great things to come. She added that it is an outstanding success story considering other stories following various co-operative societies, which often end in court cases.
She commended the executives of the co-operative society for their commitment and determination in achieving the great feat, adding that in future, staff from other ministries will seek posting to the housing sector of the ministry in order to secure a house to live. She further indicated interest in having the blueprint so that other sectors of the ministry can replicate same.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman, Association of Senior Civil Servant, (Housing Chapter), Comrade Alaka Olumuyiwa, expressed gratitude to God for a dream come through. He enjoined the management to collaborate with the Union and the Cooperative in achieving other housing projects under construction.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Chairman of the Staff Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society, Mr. Frank Obidiri expressed gratitude to God for the completion of the project which started in February, 2017, adding that the houses are strictly for staff of housing sector of the ministry. The cost of each flat is 8 million naira and would be paid for the period of six years.
He congratulated the beneficiaries of the houses who are financial members of the co-operative.
* As Council concludes its 23rd Meeting in Abuja
* Approves that adequate budgetary provisions be made for the provision of signage infrastructure
* Urges states to liaise with FRSC and FMPWH on standard of traffic calming techniques to be adopted at design stages of road projects
The National Council on Works rose from its 23rd Meeting in Abuja Thursday with a call on governments at all levels in the country to adhere strictly to the provision and standardization of road traffic signage in order to reduce the incidence of road accidents and ensure comfort and safety for travellers on the nation’s highways.
The Council Meeting, which was presided over by the Minister of Power Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, was declared open by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, represented by the Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority, Engr. Umar Jibril. The meeting was also attended by the Hon. Minister of State, Hon.Mustapha Baba Shehuri, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Works , Hon. Toby Okechukwu, Permanent Secretaries in the Ministry, the Chairman, Federal Character Commission, Commissioners responsible for Works matters in the States of the Federation as well as senior officials of relevant Federal and State Ministries, Departments and Agencies, regulatory bodies and other stakeholders.
In a Communiqué at the end of the Meeting hosted by the Ministry of Power,Works and Housing at the NAF Conference Centre in Kado District of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Council noted that installation of modern signage on the country’s highways would reduce the high rate of road carnage being recorded on the highways yearly.
While also urging the Governments to assist research bodies in the country to conduct more research in the production of road signage, the Council called on stakeholders to increase funding for the provision of the signage as well as conduct sensitization programmes to enlighten the public on their use.
In order to ensure effective monitoring of traffic on the highways, it called on the Federal, States and Local Governments to approve the use of reflectometer as a quality monitoring device on the highways while urging Federal and State Governments to install ICT cameras and Traffic Aids Posts for recording traffic violations and to enforce compliance by road users.
Also to further improve monitoring on the highways, the Council recommended the use of survey techniques of RADAR (Radio Direction and Ranging) and LIDAR (Light Direction and Ranging) in monitoring traffic signage, checking vehicular movement and recording of traffic offences such as flouting the speed limits, beating of traffic lights and failures to respect traffic signage such as zebra crossing, among others.
Noting that indiscriminate use of billboards and other forms of adverts on road signage constitutes a menace on the highways, it urged all stakeholders to sensitize the public on the negative consequences of defacement, damage and removal of traffic signs on Nigerian roads while also calling for the establishment of Monitoring and Enforcement Units at Federal and State levels to ensure adherence to the use of road signs.
The Council, which noted that the use of unstandardized traffic calming techniques, such as bumps, logs of wood and tyres, defaced the roads and reduced their aesthetics conditions as well as that of the environment, urged government at all levels to adopt the use of modern and standard traffic calming techniques such as impediment/ traffic diversion and standard road bumps adding that states should liaise with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing (FMPWH) to agree on a standard, which, according to them, should be adopted during the design stage of road projects.
Other road furniture recommended by the Council to improve safety and comfort on the nation’s highways include Survey Techniques used to demarcate, survey and ensure compliance to the Right of Way (RoW) and Solar Road Studs, which, according to them, are visible up to 800 meters in the night while also emitting, rather than reflecting, light, thereby warning drivers at road sections.
It encouraged stakeholders to be proactive in adapting new technologies such as performance retro-reflective materials for all road markings in order to advance road safety while they accepted that in all new bridge projects, the crash barriers should be made up of dwarf concrete walls and metal barriers.
On the importance of seeking alternative funding means for sustainable maintenance of street lighting and other road infrastructure by Governments at all levels, the Council, which listed such alternative funding means to include Public Private Partnership (PPP), the Special Energy Efficiency Lighting Fund, the Carbon reduction fund, among others, approved that adequate budgetary provisions be made for the provision of signage infrastructure.
In line with the its call on Federal and State Governments to direct their relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to provide geo-spatial data for positioning and location of road signage, the Council approved that such geo-spatial data be provided by the use of modern survey techniques by the Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation (OSGoF) and the Offices of the Surveyors - General of the States (OSGoS).
It noted that such Geo-spatial information would create database for national signage for emplacement, monitoring and maintenance of highways furniture and infrastructure adding that all State Governments that were yet to establish Asset Management Units to focus on building database of road furniture and road signage should do so.
While encouraging stakeholders in the road sector to consider the use of the LED Solar Road Studs in road design, the Council also urged them to adopt the use of Radio Frequency Identification Technology and other modern technologies and devices in the maintenance and sustenance of street lights along Nigerian Roads, asking them also to assist NITT to design a national strategic ITS plan for effective highways infrastructure and Traffic Management so as to enhance safety and comfort on the roads.
Commending the effort of the Yobe State Government in the establishment of computerized Vehicle Inspection Centres and Model Driving Schools, the Council urged other state governments that are yet to establish such Centres and Driving Schools to do so to provide better education for road users.
It also urged relevant government agencies to ensure regular review of Road Signs System to conform with the 1968 United Nations Convention adding that stakeholders involved in the review should be expanded to include Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing (Works Sector), State Ministries of Works and Transport, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Federal Roads Safety Corps, Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO) and the Nigeria Society of Engineers.
The Council, which recalled that Nigeria was represented at a workshop in Geneva, Switzerland by a group of experts on Road Signs and Signals, pointed out that a document was presented by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on the challenges associated with the interpretation and implementation of 1968 Convention on Road Signs and Signals.
It noted that a National Road Safety Strategy (2016 – 2020) document has been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the National Economic Council (NEC) and called for the implementation of the document which, it said, could be accessed on http://frsc.gov.ng/ publications.
Noting that the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing Highway Manual Part I: Design Volume VI: Road Traffic Signs and Road Markings 2013 was meant to ensure appropriate signage on the nation’s highways, the Council expressed delight that several jobs would be created among skilled and semi-skilled artisans through the adoption of the new technologies in the production of modern signage.
And in order to make education of road users on the use of advance road signage more effective, the Council suggested that the enlightenment be done in local languages urging the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO) as well as other stakeholders to intensify efforts on sensitization in motor parks, all places of worship, palaces of traditional rulers and other relevant places.
The Council had earlier considered the issues raised in the Memoranda presented at the Meeting and noted with delight the Status of Implementation of its key decisions at the 22nd Meeting of the Council which showed that out of the 37 resolutions adopted at the Meeting, 25 tasks were completed with seven in progress while five were “facing challenges”.
A total of 26 Memoranda were received and considered under seven thematic groups including Adequate Traffic Signage – An Essential Key for Highways Infrastructure, Safety and Comfort; The Role of Survey and Mapping to Road Signage; Quality Assurance in the Production and Installation of Road Signage; Standardization of Road Signage; Adherence to the Provision of Road Signage on the Highways; Managing the Challenges of vandalization and Damages to Road Signage and; the Relevance of Intelligence to Signage.
The Council Meeting preceded by a three-day Meeting of Directors and Permanent Secretaries from 17th – 19th July, 2017.Read More
* Minister commends private sector participants in the Housing Sector at the 11th Abuja International Housing Show in the FCT
* Says FG is now building models that respond to nation’s cultural and climatic diversities in 33 states “as a pilot to then interface with the Private Sector”
* We remain committed and we will deliver and improve what we met, he declares
The 11th Abuja International Housing Show kicked off in the Federal Capital Territory Monday with the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, advocating a Housing Economy as a viable means of rebuilding the nation and its economy.
In a keynote address at the International Conference Centre venue of the three-day event, Fashola, who explained the concept of Housing Economy to mean “an economy that delivers on a continuous basis at every spectrum of the value chain”, starting from the construction sites. He said such continuous construction would impact mostly on the lives of artisans, labourers, builders and others at the construction sites, whom he described as “the most vulnerable members of the society”.
Stressing that the society has a duty to support such people, the Minister pointed out that the construction site has provided a major source of income for, not only construction workers such as plumbers, welders, bricklayers, retailers, but also suppliers of building materials and food vendors, adding, “It is the place where we can impact most on peoples’ lives”.
“Those are the most vulnerable members of our society that we must continue to support”, he said adding that the kind of response that could be received from creating a sustainable housing construction through building on a continuous basis would be “almost unbelievable”.
Recalling his inspection of Housing sites in Taraba, Gombe, Ekiti, Oyo and other states across the country earlier in the year, Fashola declared, “the story I can tell you is that plumbers, welders, bricklayers, food vendors, all say, ‘Thank Buhari for us because we are back to work’. And that is the story; that is where it starts”.
Particularly recalling his visit to the Oyo State site where he met a couple working at the site with the husband as a mason and bricklayer while the wife sold food to workers, the Minister, who noted that the couple relocated from Lagos to the site on learning of the project, added, “Let us just continue to build because the opportunities that it provides for rebuilding the economy and for rebuilding our country are simply prolific”.
On plans to include members of the informal sector in the Housing programme, Fashola said his Ministry was currently working on how to expand and register cooperatives and assist people to key into the programme adding that work in that regard has almost been concluded.
The Minister said the plan had become necessary because within the financing sector it had become important to ensure that those who have legitimate assets and income but were not in the formal recorded form could still be assisted to participate in home ownership.
Using the level 07 or 08 Civil Servant, who earns N50,000, as example, the Minister said although the amount may not be enough, he may have other assets like a farm or his wife’s business that they could put together adding that the plan was to expand the frontiers of how to determine what was affordable and the kind of income that could come into the programme.
“What we are currently working on now is how to expand and register cooperatives and assist people; because we have seen that the formal sector has its own structured organization where they contribute money, they help each other to build it. How can we use that to help them to build for themselves? We are almost completing work in that regard”, he said.
Fashola, who acknowledged that there is a challenge in the nation’s Housing sector, however, said the way to solve it was not to look at the size but to focus on how to solve it urging that the size of the problem should not dampen the enthusiasm to seek for solutions.
Debunking the estimated size of the nation’s housing deficit as not based on any audit or accurate census, the Minister, who stated that life without problems was unimaginable, added, “I always say that it is because there are problems that opportunities also arise, whether in public or the private sector”.
“I think the most important thing I want to say here is that the size of the problem should not dampen our enthusiasm to find solutions. Let us focus more on what we can contribute, what we can do rather than how big the problem is”, he said adding, “I will say this in the context of every time I hear 17 million Housing deficit; who did the census; who did the audit?”
The Minister recalled that barely 15 years ago Nigerians needed to get international direct dialling to be able to call somebody outside the country adding that although it was a big problem, the country just focussed on how to find a solution and, indeed, found a solution with many Nigerians now owning phones.
According to him, although not everybody in Nigeria today has a telephone, “But inch by inch, step by step, village by village, community by community we are connecting”, adding, “That must be the same attitude here”.
Still emphasizing the need to focus on solutions, Fashola, who recalled the time in the country when the only television station available was the Nigerian Television Authority, stated that Nigerians now have more channels than they could watch, adding that Nigerians must adopt the attitude that having overcome many problems in the past, the housing problem could be overcome.
The Minister commended Nigerians for their innovativeness pointing out that the banner, depicting the many brands of exhibitors at the Housing Show was a demonstration that Nigerians were not idle. He declared, “Look at all of those brands, it means that Nigerians are doing something. So we are not idle, we are not inactive and step by step we will get to our destination”.
On the theme of the Show, “Solving Nigeria’s Housing Challenges Through Innovative Finance and Infrastructure Solutions”, Fashola, who said the financing problem would remain for as long as humanity, explained that the growth of global population was not proportionate with the increase in availability of funds.
The Minister explained further, “The public Housing programme in the United Kingdom started since 1918. Next year it will be 100 years old. And, you know what, not everybody in the UK owns a house. There are people who still sleep on the streets. They have only managed to achieve about 65 per cent home ownership”.
“And it varies depending on the economy because even home owners also lose their homes. They have reduced rental and increased ownership; but from 1918 till now, not everybody owns a home and that is just about 65million or 70million people”, he said.
Also, according to the Minister, Singapore, with barely five million people, started her Housing programme in 1962 and has achieved a home ownership of 80 per cent of their population after about 60 years while in Hong Kong, one of the biggest financial centres in the world, people live in cages; in flats cut into pieces “because the average cost of a house is 19 times higher than the average wage”.
“And this is the context in which I said the issue of financing will remain for a long time. But within that we can improve the quality of our lives if we focus on what we can do, if we focus on major progress, if we understand that housing delivery is a long time commitment”, he said.
Expressing the commitment of the Federal Government to deliver on its promises of affordable housing for Nigerians, Fashola declared, “We remain committed and we will deliver and improve what we met”, adding that in discussing financing it should also be understood that there are many other problems such as issues of affordability and issues of acceptability.
The Minister declared, “We have empty houses in many states of the Federation. Why are they not occupied? Can people afford them? Where they can afford them, do they like the way they are built?” adding that these were the problems that must be addressed in order to build for the choice and demand of the off taker.
Fashola commended his team in the Ministry for the work they have done in the last one year during which, according to him, “they have designed a National Housing model that responds to the cultural and climatic diversities of Nigeria”, adding that the Ministry was now building in 33 states of the Federation “as a pilot to then interface with the Private Sector”.
Also present at the Opening Ceremony of the Housing Show which is featuring hundreds of exhibitors and stakeholders in the Housing Sector, include, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie Oyegun, who was Chairman of the Opening Ceremony, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, Legislators, Governors, Traditional Rulers and other stakeholders in both Public and Private Sectors.
*Inspects Ongoing Repair Works & Assures Motorists, Residents Of FG’s Commitment To Address Their Plight
The flow of vehicular traffic on the Ilorin-Mokwa-Jebba road would be normalized within two weeks according to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Already the Federal Government has commenced work to make the road passable pending the commencement of work on re-construction of the collapsed Bakino bridge at Tatabu community near Mokwa in Niger State.
Prof. Osinbajo who visited the site for an on-the-spot assessment earlier today gave the assurance having received assurances from top government officials including Power, Works & Housing Minister, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and the contractors on site.
Specifically the Ag. President received briefs from relevant officials on site including the site engineers and supervisors from the Federal Ministry of Works. He also embarked on a tour of the collapsed bridge.
Prof. Osinbajo then told newsmen at the site that government was fully committed to ending the difficulties on the Ilorin-Mokwa-Jebba road by addressing the remote causes of the deterioration on the road.
According to the Acting President, ``the Minister of Works is working on a lasting solution but in the interim we have assurances from the contractors and engineers working here that this road will be made passable in about a fortnight.’’
He assured that construction work on building a new bridge would commence but that it would take some time for it to be completed due to the slow movement of material from Ilorin to the site.
According to him, ``The contractors have informed me that movement of material to this location would be difficult and slow because of the deplorable nature of the road but with the commitment and support of the Federal Road Safety Corps and other agencies, the job would be done in good time.’’
He added the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport were both working on a more lasting solution that will reduce the over -dependence on the highway especially by diverting the movement of heavy duty cargo from the roads to the railways.
While speaking to youths who had gathered at the site of the collapsed bridge, Prof. Osinbajo conveyed the greetings of President Muhammadu Buhari to the community and urged for patience while government's efforts are in top gear to fix both the collapsed bridge and the road.
The Acting President was companies on the visit by Mr. Fashola, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing; the Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello, the Estu Nupe, HRH, Dr Yahaya Abubakar and other senior government officials.Read More
May 2017 was appraisal time of the mid term of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in office.
Expectedly, much attention was on the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, as it controls the fulcrum, which the country’s development revolves around. While Power plays a vital role in its industrial development, Works (roads, bridges) facilitates the transaction of business and social activities across its boundaries and cultures while Housing gives both stability and security to its human resource.
There were, and there will still continue to be truths, half-truths, and outright falsehoods. Indeed, in a clime where some people earn political patronage or keep their positions by how savagely they can disparage the subject of this discourse, certain outlets and their tendencies have simply become predictable.
However, as C.P Scott wrote in 1921, “comments are free, but facts are sacred.” The fact is that with a reputation built not on quick fixes but enduring solutions and far sightedness, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN remains resolutely focused. As he turns 54 today, it would still be in tune with the spirit of mid term assessment to look at what BRF has been doing with the tax payers time as a public officer.
The stewardship of Mr Fashola at the helm of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing started in November 2015 when President Buhari inaugurated his Cabinet. Shortly after, the Minister held a media briefing where he outlined the Ministry’s focus in the three sectors. In Power, the promise was to increase power availability (Incremental Power), then advance it to steady supply and ultimately to uninterrupted supply nationwide. This he followed up with a Roadmap clearly setting out how he and his team intend to achieve this. In Works (Infrastructure), the promise was to increase road connectivity, decrease journey time and improve journey experience by completing on going projects; and in Housing, it was to build acceptable and affordable houses for the citizenry. In summary: galvanize the economy through infrastructure development.
Power: Plants and all
Fact: at inception, the administration inherited 2,690 MW of power and only oversight through regulatory agencies instituted by law and on transmission of electricity which it is carrying out through the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN); the 26 power plants (23 gas and three hydro) having been privatized.
What’s being done to achieve Incremental Power? With provision of funds and determination to fulfill the promises made at the media briefing on Incremental Power, resuscitation of the 29 MW Dadin Kowa Hydro-Power plant in Gombe State should be completed in November, going by the assurance given to the Minister in March this year, by the project manager. The 132KV lines to evacuate the power are in place. The 40 MW Gurara Power Station is expected to finish in the first quarter of next year and with the arrival of its standardization equipment, the 10MW Katsina Wind Mill is expected to finish before quarter two. The diesel and gas dual fired 215MW power plant in Kaduna is also expected to finish this year. There is also another Power Emergency Project that President Buhari approved for General Electric to give 240MW of power in Afam, Rivers State. It is also expected to finish this year. The 40 MW Kashimbilla Hydro Power Plant, in Taraba State, has been revived and now 99% completed . The works on the evacuation of power including transmission lines , switchyards and substations from the power plant to Takum , Wukari and the existing substation in Yandev is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2018 subject to availability of funds.
Work has resumed on the 700MW Zungeru hydroelectric power plant in Niger State, which was stalled by litigation for over three years .The nation moves closer to achieving power security with more alternatives to Gas fired plants. Work on the 450MW Azura Power Plant in Benin, was also stalled because the approvals and agreements required by the private companies to source for funds could not be signed for more than one year. President Buhari finally signed the required on assumption of office and this enabled the investors to commence construction. So also, the Mambilla hydro plant, which had been on the drawing board long before the coming of this Government. The Minister in an interview with the Daily Trust last week explained that significant progress had been made in terms of project planning by working with various stakeholders and with a “No Objection “ certificate secured from the Bureau of Public Procurement on Monday 19th June ,work is set to commence on this long drawn yet all important project..
Against the backdrop of the country’s vulnerability on account of its over reliance on a single fuel source –Gas- for Power, perhaps, one of the best things that has happened to the Power Sector since the present administration took office is the development of an Energy Mix.
Developed by the Ministry and unveiled at the National Council on Power Meeting held in Kaduna in July last year, the initiative has since set off a chain of activities on the diversification of the power generation. For example, the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) on behalf of the Federal Government in July last year signed Power Purchase Agreements with 14 solar power developers to produce over 1,000MW of solar power. As a follow-up, two of the developers, Afrinegia Nigeria Limited and CT Cosmos Nigeria Limited, on 13th April signed the Put/Call Option Agreements (PCOA). Co-ordinated by NBET, the PCOA is a key aspect of the PPA to deal with any premature termination. Afrinegia Nigeria Limited plans to deliver 50MW while CT Cosmos will deliver 70MW to the grid. There is also a plan for a new solar farm in Jigawa State, which is under procurement and planning. It is expected to add a minimum of another 1,000MW to the grid. In conjunction with other stakeholders discussions are also in progress with two coal developers who will add significant coal power to the grid.
Individuals and businesses in the country are also being encouraged to partake in investing in small captive solar initiatives. The objective is to create an Energy Security for the country by diversifying the energy source. In addition, the policy encourages the siting of power plants close to the source of energy. At the Council meeting in Kaduna, a target of 2030 was set for the achievement of 55 per cent gas,16 per cent, solar, 15 per cent, large hydro project; 4 per cent, wind; 3 per cent, biomass and 3 per cent, coal. Government has led from the front in this aspect with the completion of the 1.2MW Clean Energy Photovoltaic System, a solar energy plant and first of its kind in Nigeria, to power the Lower Usman Dam power treatment plant, the main source of potable water to the Federal Capital Territory. Built in collaboration with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the project’s first phase, commissioned in August 2016, is producing 1.2MW of solar energy.
From the outset, Fashola, a firm believer in the sanctity of contracts was not persuaded by call in some quarters for the outright cancellation of the privatization of the power sector. Rather, he believes that the process and the sector should be methodically reviewed and reformed. This is the sum and substance of the Power Sector Reform Programme which focuses on introducing reforms, reducing losses in the distribution companies, enhancing the sector’s financial viability, increasing access to electricity services, and mobilizing private sector investment. With support secured from the Federal Executive Council, members of the National Assembly heading the Power Committees and the World Bank Group, the Programme is already being implemented, though many are still awaiting a “formal” launch. These policies include the inauguration of Commissioners for the National Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC) and the Rural Electrification Agency Board on the governance side as well as the NBET’s N701 billion two-year Payment Assurance Guarantee approved to ensure that all those who generate power to the grid are paid . The Minister has, in exercise of his powers under Section 27 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005 directed NERC to permit four categories of customers to buy power directly from a licensee other than their electricity distribution companies, once they are dissatisfied with the performance of the latter. As Fashola puts it, “ it is like going to Nestle to get your products directly instead of waiting for the distributor.” (Please visit www.nercng.org, on “Eligibility in the Power Sector”.)
In terms of transmission capacity over which the public continues to express much anxiety, although the Ministry inherited over 100 uncompleted transmission projects, TCN is expanding and maintaining the transmission lines and completing projects started before the privatization. It has paid contractors and obtained the necessary approvals for them to return to work. The projects include the Irrua and Okada Transmission Projects, both in Edo State; Itu-Calabar Transmission Line, Ikot Ekpene-Calabar, Ikot Ekpene-Alaoji, and Ikot-Ekpene-Ugwuaji Transmission Lines and the Damboa Transmission Power in Borno State which was stopped at the peak of insurgency.
Also shipping companies and warehouse owners, who kept custody of containers abandoned by unpaid contractors for almost a decade, have begun releasing them. In fact, the first batch of over 387 containers was released to the contractors due provisions made in the 2016 budget.
There is also a five-year plan to boost power transmission capacity to 20,000MW beginning from 5,500MW to 10,000MW in the next three years. The plan targets transmission capacity of 8,200MW by 2018 and 10,000MW by 2019. To achieve this, the Federal Government is working on actual numbers of transmission towers that would take the nation from 7,000MW to 20,000MW in each growth plan; how many kilometers of cables, wires, breakers and tons of steel would be required in each stage as well as securing Right of Ways, settle compensation issues and every other issue that could possibly impede the implementation plan. Meanwhile, 59 expansion projects are currently being worked on across the country. The various transmission projects under the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) are also being completed.
As Fashola promised during the first anniversary of the administration, attention has recently been directed at rolling out the Rural Electrification Implementation Programme “to improve access to power for rural communities”. On 2 May, , the Minister inaugurated the Board of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and charged it with increasing access to electricity in the shortest possible time for the millions of Nigerian rural communities and villages as well as some urban cities yet to access electricity from the national grid. These communities lack access partly because the 330/132 KV and 132/33 KV lines (popularly called the high-tension wires), which the connection is often made through, run over long distances; the high cost of extending the lines to these communities, most of which are sparsely populated, and tariff being fixed, investment in them was not attractive. The Electricity Sector Reform Act, passed in 2005, set up the REA and mandated that the Implementation plan for rural electrification should be prepared within a year for Presidential Approval. That approval came 11 years late, with President Buhari’s stroke of the pen. The implementation Plan which recommends a combination of grid extension and development of independent grids, using new technology such as solar, to make these communities, see light, so to speak, had been anchored on some existing projects such as the completion of over 2,000 uncompleted or abandoned grid extension projects which started life in 1999 as constituency projects.
Government intends to resuscitate six of the over 50 small hydro dams across the country and activate their power component, which, the Minister says had received Federal Executive Council’s approval, had also been advertised, and had received Expressions of Interest which were now being evaluated. The third anchor is the development of Independent Power Plants (IPPs) in 37 federal universities and seven teaching hospitals in rural areas and the building of independent power grids from there to connect adjoining rural and unconnected communities. The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Tuesday, 20th June 2017 with eight (8) Federal Universities and one Teaching Hospital for the first phase of the Federal Government’s Energizing Education Programme (EEP) which is also being used as anchor for the electrification of rural communities in the areas where the tertiary institutions are located.
Safe, smooth roads
It was in June 2016 that contractors were mobilized to return to sites they had abandoned for over two years because of non-payment of contract fees. Today, work is going on in all states of the Federation in terms of road rehabilitation and reconstruction. , Between February and April the Minister had undertaken an inspection tour of these road projects in 34 States across the six geopolitical zones of the country. In the South-East, which was the first port of call, at least 600 kilometers of roads are under rehabilitation/ construction across the zone’s five states. They include the Enugu-Aba- Port Harcourt Expressway, which runs through Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia and Ebonyi States covering about 31 roads as well as construction of pedestrian bridges and flyovers, traffic signs and lights; the outstanding section of Onitsha-Enugu Road being handled by Reynolds Construction Company (RCC); Umana-Ndiagu-Adaebele-Udi Road in Ndiagu, Nsukka—Oboloafor -Ihamufu Road, Ninth Mile-Nsukka-Oboloafor Road, among others in Enugu State;Ohafia-Oso Road (In Ebonyi and Abia States: 11.7 km), Nnenwe-Uduma-Uburu Road, Section1 (14 km in Enugu/Ebonyi), rehabilitation of Abakaliki-Afikpo Road; Section 1 (20.5 km), rehabilitation of Abakaliki-Afikpo Road Section 11 (19.5 km) and Construction of Obubra-Ikwo-Onueke-Nkomoro-Agba-Ezekuna-Ogboji-Nara-Cross River Border Road (7 km), among others in Ebonyi; Aba-Port Harcourt Dual Carriageway (section 11), Umuahia Tower-Aba Township Rail/Road Bridge Crossing (56.1Km), rehabilitation of Lokpanta-Umuahia Tower (59.5km) and rehabilitation of Calabar-Itu-Ikot-Ekpene-Aba-Owerri Section 111: Ikot-Ekpene-Ikot Umuoessien-Aba Road in Abia/Akwa-Ibom (43.2km), among others in Ebonyi while in Imo State, federal road projects currently on-going include the Owerri-Umuahia Road, Sections 1,11 and 111, the Ikot-Ekpene Border: Aba-Owerri Dualisation Road Section 1, Phase 1 (11.26km), Mbaise-Ngwa Road Ohase 1 (14 km), Amanwaozuzu-Uzoagba-Eziama-Orie-Amakohia Road (10km) and Oba-Nnewi-Okigwe Road Section 11, among others. On the Second Niger Bridge in Onitsha, Anambra State, the contractor is working to re-mobilize to site, having stopped due to lack of payment.
In the North East, six federal roads are, among others, undergoing reconstruction or rehabilitation in Bauchi State, including the Suare-Azare, Azare-Potiskum Road, Ningi-Ajalokuna-Fudulamata Road, Jukun-Zaero Road and Zaero-Bassa-Ningi Road. In Gombe State, the two on-going road projects are the Gombe-Bauchi Federal Highway and the Gombe –Numan-Yola Road while in Taraba, Yobe and Maiduguri, the major roads under construction include the Kano-Maiduguri Dual Carriageway that traverses three States. In the South-West the on-going road projects include the Ogbomosho-Oshogbo Road that connects Oyo State with neighbouring Osun, the Oyo-Ogbomosho Road that connects the State through to Kwara, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway that connects Ibadan to Ogun and to Lagos and Lagos-Shagamu Expressway among others . Similarly, there are projects going on in the North-Central, the North- West and the South –South. When Fashola says the Federal Government is present in all States of the Federation, he means it because he has been on the roads to see the projects.
Affordable, Acceptable houses
In the Housing Sector, construction of houses under the National Housing Programme has commenced in 33 states, which have allocated land for the purpose. And in line with the decision to build houses which will suit the climatic, socio-cultural and land use peculiarities of the people, the designs of one, two and three-bedroom bungalows have been adopted for the Northern states while the designs of one, two and three bedroom blocks of flats have been adopted for Southern states. In addition, the Ministry has also identified inputs such as doors, windows, tiles, paint and roofing materials that could be made locally and as earlier resolved by the Minister that only Made-in-Nigeria inputs will be used unless there is no local production capacity. To provide investment information for local manufacturers, the ministry has done some inventory of quantities of materials needed in the project. Based on that inventory, 22,288 doors; 27,849 windows; 3,502 water cisterns; 3,502 wash hand basins; 2,830 kitchen sinks; 261,299 sq. metres of floor tiles; 178, 680 Sq. metres of wall tiles; 561,119 litres of paints; and 342,960 Sq. metres of roofing materials would be needed in the first phase of construction which will also require 413,000 man days of skilled labour, and 440,000 man days of unskilled labour. This, of course, means continuous job for local manufacturers and artisans.
The whole essence of the on-going infrastructure renewal, whether in the Power, Works or Housing sector, is, first, to stimulate jobs. This purpose has been achieved to a very significant extent. As announced by the Minister recently at an account of stewardship rendering Town Hall Meeting, the Ministry generated 193,469 jobs (9,000 direct and 60,000 indirect in Power; 17,749 direct and 52,000 indirect in Works and 13,680 direct and 41,040 indirect in Housing) while also empowering 542 local contractors during the 2016 budget year.
During his tour, the Minister engaged with these young men and women, working to deliver on the contracts, delivering service which will touch the lives of the greatest number of the people and in so doing restore the country’s economy to the path of growth and prosperity. On each of the stops Fashola would also dutifully deliver the message of his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari’s gratitude and commendation to the teeming young men and women for working hard to rebuild Nigeria and contributing to the economic recovery from a recession spun by several years of profligacy.
Incredible strength, work ethic
Whether sitting through grueling meetings to make peace and get projects or contracts (which had stalled for years before his assumption of office), moving from one power plant or Transmission station to chair going again, chairing the monthly meetings of the Power Sector Operators, in different cities and states or enduring hours of bus travelling by road to inspect roads, housing or power projects under his watch, Fashola displays a remarkable strength of character and intellect as well as energy. Often asked how he manages his naturally crowded schedule, the Minister would respond to the effect that he takes himself and any assignment he accepts seriously. Now, you can’t be focused without being serious and so l am closing by wishing my Boss many more years of focused service to our fatherland in sterling health. Happy Birthday BRF!
The Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN has reiterated the efforts of the present administration to provide affordable housing delivery to the teeming Nigerian population.
The Minister in his keynote address delivered at the opening ceremony of the 2nd Abuja Housing and Investment Expo, noted that the theme of this year’s event "Housing and Investment for Economic Recovery’’ is most tropical and apt, considering the present government’s position for the provision of affordable housing, investment and promotion, job creation are all efforts targeted toward ensuring economic recovery.
Fashola stated that the ministry is willing to collaborate with private sectors ready to invest in housing and urban development, adding that this will invariably create enabling environment for the citizens to purchase affordable houses of their choices based on their income.
The Minister added that the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing will always welcome and continue to encourage new concept of decent and affordable mass housing for the people towards the full realization of government's ultimate goal as contained in the National Housing Policy.
He commended the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and Shelter Aid Limited, organizers of the event for their consistency and commitment in ensuring that adequate and affordable housing provision through massive investment in the sector is actualised.
The Chairman of the occasion and the Chairman Senate Committee of Federal Capital Territory, Senator Dino Melaye, regretted that corruption is an impeding factor that has hindered the development and growth in the housing sector and therefore urged stakeholders to have a change of heart and put the interest of the people first.
Melaye stated that his committee is already working on ‘Rent Edit’ in Abuja that will protect tenants and landlords and help checkmate incessant increase of rents in Abuja.
He added that while "not everybody can own a house", the rent edit will help to tele-guide and curb excessive rent in the Federal Capital City and the nation at large’’. He however promised that the committee will ensure that the rent edit will be passed into law before the end of the 8th Senate.
Earlier in his remarks, the President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Tony Ejinkeonye welcomed participants and invited guests to the occasion. He urged everyone to take advantage of the technical and plenary sessions and also interact with the exhibitors so that the economic recovery plan of the government is given a face-lift by private sectors’ participation.Read More
The Federal Executive Council presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday approved 186.6million dollars for the completion of the AFAM Power plant.
The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola stated this while briefing State House correspondents alongside the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, on the outcome of the Council’s meeting in Abuja.He said that the AFAM project was part of the ministry’s roadmap for incremental power to the grid.
``Council ratified the earlier approval given for GE to undertake that project so that we can complete 240MW of emergency power through 830MW turbines this year.’’
Fashola also revealed that the Council also approved ``2.2million dollars for the construction and rehabilitation of the sub-station to enable the evacuation of the power, once the turbines are installed’’.
In his contribution, Amaechi revealed that the Council approved N500million for the completion of Baro River Port in Niger state.
``We hope that in the next four to six months we should be able to complete the Baro River Port.
He said the Council directed the Minister of works, Power and Housing to look into possibility of reconstructing the roads leading to the River Port while the Ministry of Transportation would look at the revival of the narrow gauge to the Port.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, disclosed that the Council granted permission to the ministry to sign a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related matters to ``prevent tax erosion and profit shifting’’.
She said: ``The benefits are the convention will swiftly modify existing bilateral tax treaties to implement tax treaty related matters in a cost efficient manner instead of individual negotiation and amendment of
``It will address tax treaty abuse, promote transparency and drastically curtail illicit financial flows and ultimately it will increase the tax revenue of the government.’’
* Calls for peace in the area as important precondition for successful completion of projects
* All of the turbines and equipment needed for the completion of Afam III are now in the country, says Fashola
* Assures Shell, other major gas suppliers that product supplied to the plant henceforth will be paid for
Given the availability of sufficient gas to power it, the Afam Thermal Power Plant in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, will before December this year, deliver 340 Megawatts of electricity to the National Grid towards the consolidation of the Federal Government’s drive to achieve Incremental Power for the country.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, who disclosed this in Afam in the Oyigbo Local Government Area of the State at the weekend, said with the work on the 240MW capacity Afam III Plant at advanced stages and the burnt transformer for the 100MW Afam 1V now repaired, the two should deliver a combined 340MW energy to the grid before the end of the year subject to the availability of sufficient gas to fire them.
Interacting with newsmen after inspecting the Power Station, Fashola, who said all of the turbines and equipment needed for the completion of Afam III were already in the country, added that the only problems left included the provision of access roads and logistics while the burnt transformer that would evacuate the 100MW from Afam 1V had been repaired and in good condition with the turbine.
The Minister, who noted that Government has been working at the Plants in the past 17 to 18 months to restore the place back to its optimum capacity, expressed delight at the progress of work assuring that before the end of the year, 340MW would be added to the National Grid from the facility. “That is part of our Incremental Power Initiative”, he said.
He told the newsmen, “What we have behind us is the Afam III and that is the Fast Power programme in collaboration with General Electric to restore 240MW to that place. All of the turbines and equipment needed for that project is already in Nigeria. So the only challenge we have now is roads, logistics and a few other problems; those are the things I have come to assess here”.
Noting that Afam 1V, “is the only surviving generation unit”, Fashola, who said the surviving Generation units 17 and 18 have a combined output of 100MW, added, however, that the power could not be evacuated due to the damaged transformer which, according to him, got burnt in January 2015.
“That was what was handed over to the Buhari government. So we have worked, we have restored and we have replaced the transformer and it is ready to go”, the Minister said adding, “We are here to assess the progress of the work that we have been doing here in the past 17 to 18 months to get this place back to its optimum capacity. But we now have issues with gas“.
On the steps taken by Government to solve the gas issue, the Minister, who said that the Buhari Government inherited a lot of debts owed to all the gas companies who, according to him, said they would no longer supply gas without payment, recalled that Government recently approved N701Billion under its Payment Assurance programme to ensure that henceforth all suppliers of gas to the nation’s power plants were paid.
He disclosed, “So we are telling Shell to let us separate the previous debt and create a programme to deal with it under the Central Bank of Nigeria programme”, adding, “And now that we have a Payment Assurance programme, we are assuring them that every gas they supply to this place now will be paid for”.
“We have already paid for power produced in January; we have got approval to pay for power produced in February because the bills come in arrears. So they are looking at that and they will come back to us; so hopefully we should add another 100MW to the grid from here (Afam 1V) very soon.”
For Afam V, which, he said, was the last one to be built, Fashola said the plant could not be maintained for four to five years after it was built resulting in so many things being damaged inside it adding that Government was now trying to get it into procurement and fix that.
Assuring that the project would be completed next year, the Minister added, “I think they both have 276MW combined; that is a lot of power again to the grid and that will happen over the next 12 to 15 or 16 months if we can start quickly”, pointing out that he was at the site to assess progress of work in order to deliver the project as soon as possible.
Responding to a question as to how soon the facility would be restored to optimum power delivery, the Minister declared, “As soon as the gas issue is sorted out, Afam 1V, with the capacity to deliver 100MW behind you as soon as we sort out the gas issues; it is the 240MW Afam III behind me if we meet our deadline, we want to finish before December; that will give you 340MW.”
“Then at the back there, Afam V, that is 276MW that will roll into next year; we can’t finish that this year. By December, we should get to 340MW; these are now engineering issues and time tabling and also, of course, continued peace. We have 100MW now that we can’t evacuate because there is no gas to fire it, we have fixed the problem which was a burnt transformer. It has been repaired; the turbine is good, the transformer is good, now we have to go and get fuel to fire the car”, he said.
On the plan of Government for the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan recently launched by the President as it concerns the Power Sector, Fashola declared, “Now the programme to deliver this is the Power Sector Recovery Programme which again was approved by the Federal Executive Council”, adding that the programme involved a lot of policies and actions including payments.
“Again you see Government is beginning to implement some of it. The Payment Assurance Programme is one of them; my trip to Washington to negotiate with the World Bank is one of it, the constitution of Boards- the new Chairman Designate of NERC which is pending before Senate is part of this, the constitution of the Rural Electrification Agency’s management and board is part of it; so we are beginning to implement all of the actions and policies”, the Minister said.
Describing the development of the Power Sector as a journey rather than an event, Fashola again declared, “If you are looking for an event, then you are not looking for power. We will get to many bus stops; good bus stops. One bus stop is 100MW behind you; another bus stop is 240MW behind me; another bus stop is 276MW somewhere behind the line. And we will do more of this”.
Responding to a question on the Bonny Road project, Fashola, who assured that it was on the Government’s programme, pointed out that the partnership was on explaining that some issues with the Budget which had apparently delayed the project, had been resolved at a meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly to enable the Federal Government contribute its own counterpart funding with the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG).
“So we are working with the contractor; I still met the contractor last week. People should be patient; we will deliver on the road to Bonny. The contract hasn’t been awarded. We need to see the final framework when the contract is awarded and that won’t happen until we have a budget. We can’t award contract without a budget. Hopefully we should start this year”, he said.
Earlier, in his opening remarks Fashola had called for peace in the area as an important precondition for successful completion of the Afam Power and other projects saying for people to leave their countries far away and come and build a facility that they could not take away in another country was a leap of faith.
Explaining how it would benefit the community, Fashola said aside the economic benefit to the country, the first investors who experienced a peaceful and safe environment for their assets would spread the word round the investing and business world that the environment was peaceful and safe for investment and the communities would be the better for it.
The Minister assured that the major gas supplier to the plant – Shell- would soon resume supply adding that he had a very intense discussion with the company over the modalities to henceforth pay for gas supplied and how to arrange for the payment of the backlog.
He told members of the host communities, “I have spoken to Shell and explained that under the Payment Assurance programme they will now be paid for any gas supplied while government sequences the old debts and work out plans to pay them. I told them that they should not allow payment of the old debts to stand in the way of new transaction”.
“I have had an extensive discussion with them. We cannot allow 100MW of electricity to stand idle. If 1MW can power as much as 200 to 250 homes, you can imagine what 100MW can do. That is the case I have had to share; they are responsive to that case, they will come back to me on the way forward, “ he said.
On the demand for good roads, hospitals and schools by the host communities, the Minister pointed out the Federal Government has prioritised the roads based on those that carry heavy traffic and beneficial to more people hence the focus on the completion of the Enugu – Port Harcourt Highway traversing the five states of the South-East of the country.
Noting that the Enugu- Port Harcourt Highway was another road that had fallen into disrepair for many years due to lack of maintenance, Fashola declared, “That is the Nigeria that this administration inherited and we are trying to change. So our focus first is on building the highways that even lead to Rivers State before we now start going into the heart of Rivers State”.
He added, “But we will get there if we are allowed to systematically implement our plans”, adding that the challenge of resource allocation and resource mobilization has made it necessary to prioritise.
“Those are the hard choices that we have to make and we have started by dealing first with the road that comes into Rivers State first, that connects Rivers State with other States in the South Eastern Nigeria so that more people can benefit and if you are patient I am sure it will happen”, he said.
The Minister while noting that there is a procurement plan to fix the road that leads to the Afam facility added that it would be better to wait until the project was completed before working on the roads to avoid damaging them when the heavy equipment for the project would be brought in.
As to the hospitals and schools, Fashola asked the communities to identify the sites to build and forward the survey plans to him promising to see what he could do to assist adding that it made “eminent common sense” that the people that were going to settle in the area would have families who would need the facilities.
On allegation of ill-treatment, Fashola declared, “I don’t think any government sets out to deliberately ill-treat its people. It may not have responded as adequately as you want. Even in our own homes that we don’t always have what we ask for from our parents does not mean that they set out to ill-treat you. So, I think that the understanding of why those gaps exist is important in how we communicate it”.
Giving a brief history of the Afam Power project, Fashola who said the privatisation of the Plant was not completed, added that the plant was developed in 1962, started life with 20MW, grew to almost 1,000MW but was now struggling to deliver only 100MW.
“This is what the Buhari Administration met. Even Afam V that was built in 2001 worked for just a few years and collapsed. Those are the things that this administration is determined to change by a regime of maintenance, by a regime of professionalism”, he said adding that government intends to develop a programme of maintenance so as create jobs from there.
Also in his welcome remarks, the Member representing the Constituency in the House of State’s House of Assembly, Hon. Promise Chisom Dike expressed delight at the visit of the Minister, commending him for his commitment and dedication towards revamping the nation’s Power Sector.
Praising the achievements so far recorded by the Minister, the Honourable Member declared, “I am delighted to say that after more than 50 years of electricity in this country, we are blessed as a community, as a people, to have you here at so short a notice.
“This is an opportunity to meet with you first to say that the community is very happy with your efforts, your bold efforts in the Power Industry in this country. Personally, Honourable Minister, I have been following all the efforts you are making in terms of intervention funds to ensure that this time around we are going to have a sustainable power generation that would be sustained”, he said.Read More
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, has said that the on -going National Housing Programme is a new Housing Policy conceived by the present administration with the aim of achieving acceptability and affordability by Nigerians. The Housing policy is geared towards providing affordable housing for Nigerians in both private and public sectors.
He said this in an interview on Sunrise Daily, Channels Television, while appraising his performance in the housing sector in the past two years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The Minister further noted that for houses to be appreciated by Nigerians, they must pass the test of acceptability because Nigeria is a country with multifaceted ethnic and cultural background and climatic conditions. What is acceptable to a Northerner may not be to a southerner.
Fashola noted that the Ministry is currently constructing about 2,000 pilot scheme Housing Units in 33 States of the country with targeted beneficiaries within an income bracket of grade level 8 - 14 in both private and public sectors.
He also disclosed that the Minister of State, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, had undergone inspection tour of houses under construction in the 33 States and expressed satisfaction at the work done so far, adding that some of the housing constructions are at the roofing and lintel stages.
The Minister advised Nigerians to embrace and key into the concept of mortgages as a means of financing home ownership because that is the practice in other countries. He said the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and Federal Housing Authority (FHA) being Parastals of the Ministry are alive to their responsibilities of meeting the housing needs of Nigerians with construction of Housing Estate across the nation.Read More
* As Minister inaugurates reconstituted Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board
* Urges them to make the practice of estate valuation simple enough and responsive to the man on the Street
* Tasks new Board to spearhead development of open, nationwide valuation for real estate in different parts of the country
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN, Tuesday inaugurated the reconstituted Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON) with a charge on the Board to reconcile the disparity between the country’s land evaluation system and the current economic realities.
In his remarks before the brief ceremony at the Ministry’s Headquarters in Abuja, Fashola also urged the professionals to develop an open evaluation for the different parts of the country as well as evolve means of making the practice of estate valuation simple enough and responsive to the man on the street.
Noting that because of the global economic slowdown property owners in some other jurisdictions were offering discounts on their properties to ensure optimum occupancy, the Minister wondered why the reverse was currently the case in the country where, according to him, the economy was being greatly challenged by tight capital.
He told his guests, “For me, I think the most important lessons that I like to share at this inauguration is to pose the question to you whether the current land evaluation system and values are consistent with the realities of our economy. You, as experts, must answer that question”.
“In a very challenging economy where cash is clearly tight, is the market value really responding appropriately? Are these values consistent with reality? Why are we not seeing rates and rents and values drop? Why are we having many houses unoccupied where people are looking for accommodation?”, Fashola further asked.
The Minister, who noted that property owners in the country had often argued that the properties were valued higher so they could have an “impact on percentages and commissions”, added, “As we reconstitute the new board and as we work together to rebuild our economy, those are the questions that I would like to leave you with to respond to”.
Recalling recent news that property sellers in the United Kingdom were, because of BREXIT, offering discounts to citizens, Fashola, who cited as proof that markets react to policies, added, “Many years ago our Stock Market was immune to policies. But you see today that we have a stock exchange that ranks with some of the best in the world because it reflects the realities of our economy in many respects”.
The Minister charged the Board, “So I will like to see, therefore, that as you take up the mantle of leadership today after inauguration, these are issues that I think you should put into the front burner agenda in terms of how you regulate the practice and also the quality of people that you admit to the practice”, expressing regrets that in real estate transactions in the country the customer was clearly not king even with his money.
Emphasizing the importance of Estate Surveyors and Valuers in the economic growth of the country, Fashola declared, “These are people whose core professional mandate is really putting value on land. The main business that they undertake is the business of how land is turned from a dormant asset really into a valuable asset”.
According to him, “All of those who are involved in one form of enterprise or the other must first of all appreciate the value of land as a major capital formation asset; whether it is for small businesses, whether it is for large corporations, whether it is for markets or motor parks. I can’t really think of a business that one wants to undertake where land is not a critical part whether it is just to own a small office or a small kiosk where you can sell very basic things, even to roast corn”.
He continued, “The Ministry of Power Works and Housing employs a number of Estate Valuers for many reasons, as you all know. Whether you are building new roads where we need to acquire Right-of-Way, sometimes compensations have to be paid for farmlands and all of that, you are the people we turn to for evaluation”, adding that some of the members were currently involved in the Second Niger Bridge project as valuers for the government.
Some of the members, the Minister said, have also been recruited to the Power side now in the development of the Mambila Hydro Power Dam in terms of assessing the land that needed and ultimately quantifying for compensation to be paid while some were employed in the new Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) where the Ministry had to acquire Right-of-Way for its transmission lines.
Charging the Board to ensure greater transparency in the Built Industry, Fashola further charged the members to evolve means to make the practice of Estate Valuation simple enough and responsive to the man on the street pointing out that other jurisdictions have evolved property calculators where all one needed to do was to index one’s location and that of his property to have a fair value of what his asset was worth.
The Minister said one of the areas where Nigeria’s Ease of Doing Business ranking could improve was in the area of real estate valuation, “especially how to develop a harmonised code of charges” adding, “We had this problem back at state level where we found out that we were charging about 10 per cent gross on fees and taxes while other countries close to us were charging one and two per cent. But the truth was that the values were not real”.
“They were not market values and the solution was to invoke market values so that within its jurisdiction you have a fair market value of what the rate applicable to each piece of real estate, whether it was developed or undeveloped, there was a floor and a ceiling per square metre and on that basis, we crashed the rate to about three per cent”, he said.
The Minister argued that although it may look profitable to charge X values as fees today, when considered that out of every ten possible businesses, the competition would take about six, “because of more competitive rates”, adding, “Are you really doing good business?”
He challenged the members “to develop a very open and possibly nationwide valuation for real estate in different parts of the country”, adding “So that at least in Jabi, for example we can know what is the minimum rate of undeveloped property is per square metre and what the maximum rate should be if it is not developed”.
“If it is developed, at least we will have an idea as distinct from Maitama, Asokoro; as distinct from may be GRA Ibadan or GRA Kaduna and so on. At least there will be some database and I don’t think that this in any way imperils your ability to continue to render professional service”.
Congratulating the Chairman and members of the reconstituted Board, Fashola who noted with pleasure the broad mix of experience and value that were brought to the Board, Fashola declared, “This Board has, among many other responsibilities, the responsibility for registering persons who are fit and qualified to serve and practice as Estate Surveyors and Valuers and also to the responsibility to regulate the standard and the knowledge and the general practice of the profession in our country”.
“These are the people whose core professional mandate is really putting value on land. The main business that they undertake is the business of how land is turned from a dormant asset really into a valuable asset and then all of those who are involved in one form of enterprise or the other must first of all appreciate the value of land as the major capital formation asset”, he said.
In his remarks, Chairman of the of the Board, Mr. Olayinka Sonaike, thanked the Minister and the Federal Government for the opportunity and privilege given the members to serve on the Board adding that the members of the profession were in a fit position to contribute to the economic growth of the country.
Requesting that the budgetary allocation to the Board be released to it expeditiously after the signing of the 2017 Appropriation Bill, the Chairman pledged that with the collaboration of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, the Board would carry out its job effectively.
He said the Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers of Nigeria had already completed a database of properties in Lagos State with the intention to work in other states of the Federation promising that the Board would continue to work toward reconciling the disparity between land evaluation system in the country and her economic realities.
Also at the brief ceremony were the Director for Land and Housing Development, Rev. Olurotimi Onabanjo and Director Information, Mr Adebisi Agbonhin, Specially Advisers as well as other top officials of the Ministry while the Chairman of the newly inaugurated Board was accompanied by the Vice Chairman of the Board as well as other top officers and members of the Board.Read More
* As Sector Operators report progress in project executions to boost supply : Community connection projects in Magboro completed by NDPHC, currently undergoing testing by IBEDC
* Katampe 60MVA substation in Abuja restore , 40 MVA mobile substation in Damboa, Borno State commissioned by TCN
* Makeri to Pankshin 132kV and Okpella lines to be switched on in August, installation of new circuit breaker in Egbin slated for May 19
Efforts to curb the incidence of energy theft in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) is being intensified with the on going investigation of the collusion by some staff, customers and meter manufacturers to bypass meters under some of the areas covered by the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company.
This development along with significant progress in on going electricity generation and transmission projects execution across the country were some of the highlights captured in the Communique of the 15th Monthly Meeting of the Power Sector Operators presided over by the Minister of Power Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, at the NIPP Injection Substation, Lamingo, Jos.
According to the Communiqué, ”Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company noted that collusion by some of its staff, customers and meter manufacturers to bypass meters has been reported to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and is under investigation.”
The Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) also announced the completion of host community connection projects in Magboro, which is currently undergoing testing by Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company and the progress being made in the community connections in Egbema, Okija, Oronta, Ihiala, and Nnewi in the South-East.
On its part, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) reported that Katampe 60MVA substation in Abuja was restored on April 11, 2017 and the 40 MVA mobile substation in Damboa, Borno State was commissioned on May 7, 2017, while the Makeri to Pankshin 132kV line in Plateau and Okpella line in Edo State were both expected to be switched on in August 2017 adding that the installation of new circuit breaker in Egbin was scheduled for commissioning on May 19, 2017.
In the area of customer service, while the Nigerian Electrical Regulatory Company (NERC) announced its intention to reduce the number of days required to access electricity connections in new buildings from an estimated 198 to 30 days through a regulatory Order to be released shortly, Jos Electricity Distribution Plc (JED) reported on complaints on fast reading meters in its coverage areas which were forwarded to the Minister and agreed to resolve the issues to the satisfaction of consumers.
Hope of a boost in liquidity in the sector rose also as the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET) reported on international customer payments, stating that the Republic of Niger (NIGELEC) and Republic of Benin (CEB) had made payments for power of $159,773, 116.61, with a combined balance still outstanding of $92,315,986.20, adding that payments had been duly remitted to the Generating Companies and Service Providers who, it said, had provided the generation and transmission services.
In the same vein, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Power, and Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to paying verifiable power debts, and announced the completion of physical verification of the top 100 MDA locations in Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) with plans to visit Eko and Ikeja DisCos for physical verification as a prelude to payment.
In terms of payment performance for service provision among the DisCos, the Market Operator reported that Eko DisCo was the best performer at 89 per cent while Kaduna DisCo recorded the worst performance at 13 per cent. And in terms of registration as power market participants amongst DisCos, Abuja Electricity Company, APL Electricity Company, Kaduna Electricity Company and Geometric Power have not completed registration while amongst GenCos, Delta Power, Okpai, Omoku and NIPP plants are yet to complete registration.
In the Communiqué, the operators, who noted that the Monthly Meeting serves as forum for Providing an opportunity to inspect electricity assets and for power sector decision makers to take critical decisions in unison to move the sector forward as well as providing correct sector information to the public noted that while the first and second objectives had been largely achieved, the third had not been achieved.
Blaming it on the inaccurate information often disseminated by the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) regarding the plan to escrow accounts earlier agreed by the DisCos themselves as a condition before accessing low priced loans from the Federal Government, the Communiqué averred that by failing to mention the fact that the conditions of the loans were not mandatory, but were terms of the credit facility, information advertised by ANED were misleading.
Additionally, the Communiqué stated, lack of corporate governance displayed by some DisCos, evidenced by failing to provide audited accounts, improved services and urgent response to customer complaints, meters and network investment had shown inconsistencies in DisCo statements, pointing out that the Federal Government had expended income to verify any claims accurately made against them, to the knowledge of the DisCos.
The meeting also noted that the failure of Distribution Companies to remit payment as owed to NBET led to the approval by the Federal Government of Nigeria of N701billion Payment Assurance Guarantee to Generating Companies, to fill the payment gap.
Expressing regrets over the electrical accident which occurred on April 20, 2017 in Calabar, Cross River State for which it observed a moment of silence, the Meeting reiterated the need to prioritize safety regulations and emphasized the need for the support of the sector regulators.
In order to avert similar incident in the future, the Meeting announced, for the information of the public, applicable regulations for setback saying for 330kV lines a total of 50 metres setback was required consisting of 25metres on each side from the centre while 132kV and 33kV lines required a total 30 metres (15 m on each side) and a total 3.5 metres setback respectively.
For 11KV lines, a total 3 metres setback is required while 41kV lines require 1.5 metres setback and underground cables are to be buried at least 3 metres below the ground surface, the Meeting said while also agreeing that buildings and structures built beneath ‘high tension’ power lines should be disconnected from power supply systems as already issued by NEMSA to DisCos for reasons of safety.
Enjoining the public to halt the practice of illegally constructing structures beneath and illegally connecting to power lines, the Meeting said it would encourage prioritisation of investment in education and communication on electrical safety measures through the creation of a task force within the sector, adding that it would work with state governors to reduce accidents as a course of action.
According to the Communiqué, the Governor of Plateau State, Mr. Simon Lalong, highlighted the work being done in various areas of Plateau State to supply power using solar, wind and other renewable resources saying they were complimentary to the Federal Government’s projects.
The Governor acknowledged, with gratitude, the importance of the Federal Government projects in the state, particularly the 132kV line from Makeri to Pankshin and their potential to boost tourism, agriculture and power to rural communities, as well as various rural electrification projects being undertaken by the Rural Electrification Agency.
The Meeting, chaired by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN, was hosted by Jos Electricity Distribution Plc at NIPP Injection Substation, Lamingo, Jos and had in attendance the Plateau State Governor, Hon. Simon Lalong as well as the Chairman of Jos Electricity Distribution Plc, Alh. Yayale Ahmed.
Focused, as usual, on identifying, discussing, and finding practical solutions to critical issues facing the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, the Meeting also had in attendance Power Sector Operators who were fully represented at the highest executive management levels, including Commissioners of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
Also in attendance were the Managing Directors and CEOs of Generating Companies (GenCos), Distribution Companies (DisCos), and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Gas Companies (GasCos) and other government agencies such as the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) and the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET).
Others were the Managing Director and CEOs of the Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) and Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) responsible for the regulation and development of the electricity industry as well as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).Read More
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has indentified among many other factors the need to focus on vocational education for a speedy and prosperous future.
Fashola said this at a one day stakeholder’s meeting organized by the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria on how to proffer solutions to the decline of Technical Education in Nigeria with the theme “Technical Education Manpower Shortage” at Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja.
The Minister who was represented by his Special Adviser on Works, Engr. Femi Hamzat, drew his reference from three different countries: - Singapore, South Africa and Canada and advised all the educational policy makers to emulate those countries, saying for example, that Singapore has consistently transformed its educational system to meet its required needs. He further stated that Singapore credits her competitive and growing economy to the nation’s approach to education by identifying areas in the economy that require skill-based education.
The Minister said, in South Africa “vocational technical education is recognized as an important factor in developing its economy and as such, its development has been used to heal the past divisions by improving the standard of living leading to a more successful nation.”
Fashola also stated that Technical Vocational Education systems are dynamic and the challenges thereof are unique. As such he opined that efforts must be geared towards the system that will address the national needs and economy, if actually the nation is yearning for development it desire. The Minister called on the Federal Government to articulate effective and responsive Technical and Vocational education system, which will accommodate Nigeria’s vast social, economic, educational and cultural conditions for national development
Fashola also said that plan is on-going on how to strengthen Federal Emergency Road Maintenance Agency, (FERMA) to be more responsive to the needs of national growth through legislation. The reasons for doing this he noted are to engage artisans and craftsmen to fix roads and to make FERMA a big employer of labour to different categories of manpower.
Earlier, the President of Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, (COREN), Engr. Kashim A. Ali, said the theme for the meeting was informed by dearth of technical colleges which has led to non-existence of qualified Craftsmen and Technicians in Nigerian engineering sector and the needs to fine tune ways of addressing the issue.
Engr. Kasim stated that Artisans and Technicians constitute a very important manpower of the value chain in the engineering service delivery, stressing that “the dearth of indigenous artisans and technicians in the engineering sector has negative impact on economy, and as the skills gap continues to widen, there has been huge capital flight as expatriates come in to fill the lacuna at the detriment of the country.”
In his goodwill address, the Chairman, House of Representative Committee on Works, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, charged the stakeholders to gear up their efforts in addressing the shortage of artisans and technicians within the profession, otherwise the issue of hiring expatriates will continue to exist because the vacuum cannot be left unfilled.Read More
The Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osimbajo, on Wednesday, approved N54billion for the reconstruction of Odukpani Itu-Ikot Ekpene road linking Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the FEC meeting held in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He stated that the road, which was constructed over 40 years ago, would boost socio-economic activities and improve the performance of the economy by reducing journey time, the cost of doing business and also create more job opportunities.
Fashola added that this is consistent with the promise of this administration to create employment opportunities from construction works and stimulate the economy.
“We will do the best to quickly mobilise the contractor to site with the onset of the rainy season and I am sure that by this time next year, it will be a better story, a better journey time experience in that area of the country,” he said.
Also addressing the reporters, the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika disclosed that the Council approved N1.5billion for projects in the aviation sector.
He disclosed that the Council approved the appointment of transaction advisers to carry out advisory services on establishment of national carriers, establishment of aviation leasing company and establishment of maintenance repair and overhaul centre.
He said advisers were also approved for the establishment of Aerotropolis or airport city and for the concession of the nation’s airports.
The Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu told the correspondents that the Council approved contract verification of the dairy irrigation project located along Kano and Jigawa states. He noted that the project, which is about 2,300 hectare, was abandoned after reaching 50 per cent completion about 17 years ago.
According to the minister, there is already a provision for the project in the 2016 budget and it has also been included in the 2017 budget.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed also explained that President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence at the Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting followed medical advice from his doctors.
The minister stated that the President, who was in office on Tuesday, was asked to take some rest by his doctors, today.
He thanked Nigerians for their concern and prayers for the quick recovery of the president.
Mohammed dismissed as wicked and ungodly the insinuation that the President’s health had deteriorated to the extent that he was being assisted before taking his meals.
According to the minister, President Buhari deserves commendation from all well-meaning individuals and groups for being transparent and upfront in the matter concerning his health.Read More
The Hon. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has urged members of the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON) to develop for implementation, effective strategies, framework and benchmarks for ensuring the proper application of the project quality management plan of building projects in Nigeria. He said this will guarantee the attainment of quality in project delivery as well as regulate and control the practice of the building profession.
The Minister said this today at the 15th Induction / Investiture ceremony of New Builders held in Abuja. The Minister who was represented by the Director, Public Building and Housing Department in the Ministry, Arc. Sani Gidado, said that the present administration was determined to ensure the enactment of enabling legislation on the National Building Code which includes Project Quality Management Plan in contract documentation for full implementation.
Fashola identified cases of building failures and collapse in Nigeria as a clear manifestation of failings of the designs and the construction processes and stated that the onus lies with the critical stakeholders to undertake a conscientious overhaul of the present system to curb the menace.
He commended the Council for its contributions in the quest to achieve sanity in the built industry especially on its consistency in contributions and recommendations to the National Building Code and the National Council on Housing.
In his welcome address, Chairman of CORBON, Bldr.Prof. Bala Kabir said the Council has the primary responsibility of establishing and implementing standards of education and practice for Building Technology provided in the Builders Registration Act. He said some of the specific functions in the Act include: to regulate the activities of Builders through registration and licensure; define the scope of practice of building technology; set standards for practice and continuing education of Builders and discipline registered and license holders.
He said that the induction is another effort to disenfranchise quacks from carrying out their illegal activities in the industry and admonished the inductees to be building production managers who will ensure good quality project delivery at all times.
Guest speaker at the occasion, Prof Akin Akindoyeni also urged the Builders to maintain standards and quality and also go for expertise in the profession, adding that it is incumbent on the inductees and others to keep abreast of modern technology in the industry.
A total of 106 members were inducted into the Council.
The Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, has commended President Buhari’s administration decision to recapitalize the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) with additional 500 billion naira to make mortgage facilities accessible to all Nigerians, adding that the government's gesture would further reduce the housing deficit in the country.
The Minister stated this during a courtesy visit to the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State in continuation of his inspection of on-going works on the National Housing Programme (NHP) in the North-Central geo-political zone. The Governor, Alhaji Tanko Almakura who was represented by the Deputy Governor of the state, Mr. Silas Ali Agara, received the Minister as the later thanked the state government for the collaborative effort through providing land for the NHP project in the state.
Hon. Shehuri said that the federal government through the ministry was constructing 76 housing units in the state under the NHP as a fulfillment of Mr. President's Campaign promise to provide affordable housing delivery to the people.
In his response, the Deputy Governor appreciated the federal government for initiating the programme, adding that this will have a multiplier effect on the economy of the nation by creating employment; enhancing expertise on professionals in the built industry and creating local content market. He assured the Minister that the state will continue to partner with the ministry to ensure the successful completion of the project.
The Minister later proceeded to inspect the 76-unit Housing Estate comprising 4 units of one-bedroom, 48 units of two-bedroom and 24 units of three-bedroom apartments. He expressed satisfaction with the location and the level of works done so far.
Also, the Minister inspected the construction work which is at various levels of completion at the 80-unit NHP project site in Makurdi, Benue State, where he met with contractors, artisans, food vendors, masons and labourers. The Federal Controller of Housing, Engr. Patrick Nziwu gave the breakdown as 4 units of one-bedroom, 48 units of two-bedroom and 24 units of three-bedroom apartments.
In Jos, Plateau State capital, Hon. Shehuri also paid a courtesy call on the Executive Governor, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Prof. Sonny Gwanle Tyoden. The Minister condoled with the government and the people of Plateau State over the recent death of two of their illustrious sons, the Honourable Commissioner of Housing and Urban Development, Arc. Song Galadima and the husband of the former Deputy Governor of the state, Mrs. Paullen Tallen.
While stating his mission in the state, the Minister expressed appreciation to the government for providing land for the construction of the housing programme, nothing that inspite of the present economic situation of the country the administration is resolute in fulfilling its campaign promises to Nigerians including that of housing. The Minister appealed to the state government to expedite action on its promise to construct a feeder road to link the NHP project site to the major road.
In his response, Prof. Tyoden expressed gratitude to the federal government through the ministry for "deeming it fit to make Plateau State one of the beneficiaries of the National Housing Programme". He commended the government on its planned recapitalization of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to the tune of N500 billion, nothing that this would encourage home ownership and affordability.
He assured the Minister that action would be taken on the construction of the feeder road to link the NHP project site location.Read More
* Say rehabilitation has eased access to majority of its franchise, shortened travel times for its business and staff
* Expresses confidence that on completion the road will boost commercial activities, quality of life of Nigerians and neighbouring countries
With work rapidly progressing on the rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, acknowledgments of its benefits in terms of shorter travel times and better journey experiences and appreciation from road users have started coming the way of the Federal Government.
In a recent commendation letter, the Ibadan Distribution Company (IBEDC) expressed delight and gratitude to the Hon. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN for the rehabilitation work being carried out on the road saying it had not only eased accessibility to the company’s franchise majority of whom, it said, could only be achieved through the road, but had also made it possible for most of its staff to enjoy shorter travel times and better journey experiences as they visit their families at weekends.
The commendation letter signed by the Managing Director of the Company, Mr. John Donnachie, also noted that the exigencies of the company’s business demanded that a number of official trips were often undertaken via the expressway which it described as one of the busiest within the country.
The letter read in part, “The entire Management and staff of the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc (IBEDC) write to recognize and acknowledge the herculean task being undertaken by the Office of the Minister of Power, Works & Housing in the on-going rehabilitation work on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
“Our commendation and gratitude for the good work which your office is undertaking on behalf of the entire citizens of Nigeria cannot be expressed enough. As you are aware, the large portion of the franchise area of IBEDC can only be accessed through this road and many of our staff had in the past undertaken the arduous task of plying this expressway in order to spend time with their families and friends over the weekend. The exigencies of our business also demands that a number of official trips are undertaken via this route which one could rightly classify as one of the busiest expressways within Nigeria”.
Acknowledging that the repair works initially posed some challenges to road users, the company noted with delight that as the repair work nears completion, “the previous hardship, wear-and-tear on commuters and vehicles has been greatly reduced in addition to the millions of lives and money that have been saved as a consequence of this much needed rehabilitation”.
Expressing its “support and gratitude for a job well done”, the company declared, “There is no doubt that this project on completion, will boost commercial activities and the quality of life to the inhabitants primarily of Lagos and Ibadan with significant gains recorded by all other road users from other states and neighbouring countries”.
It would be recalled that recently while inspecting the on going reconstruction and rehabilitation work on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway as part of his inspection tour of Federal Highways and other projects in the South West Zone, Fashola had alluded to the fact that reports of shorter travel times and better journey experiences had been coming in as commuters testified to making the journey from Ibadan to Lagos in less than two hours even as the project was still on-going.
The Minister, who also recalled similar reports on other Federal roads across the country during the 2016 Christmas and New Year festivals, promised that both travel times and journey experiences would be even better during the 2017 festivities as many of the road projects across the country would have been substantially completed.Read More
* Says Administration is gaining momentum and results of Government policies, programmes and action are beginning to manifest
* Dedicates ‘Minister of the Year Award’ to President, Vice President, FEC, National Assembly, Judiciary, FMPWH Staff
Even as the nation begins to experience a gradual turnaround in its economic fortunes, Minister of Power Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, has assured Nigerians of yet greater things to come saying the Federal Government was committed to making their lives better.
Fashola, who was represented in Lagos on Sunday at the 20th City People Awards for Excellence by his Special Adviser on Housing, Mr Abiodun Oki, said although the Government was gaining momentum as the results of its policies, programmes and actions were beginning to manifest, the All Progressive Congress, the architects of Change, knew that the work was not yet done but just beginning adding that even those working in the government also knew that it could be a lot better.
The Minister, who was presented the ‘Minister of the Year Award’ at the occasion, dedicated the Award to the entire Government body whom he likened to a football team saying just like in a football march, there would be no good striker, midfielder and defender in a team that did not do well.
Dedicating the Award, first to the President Muhammadu Buhari for “picking a team of Ministers whose commitment to change is unquestionable” and the Vice President for demonstrating “his ability to complement this vision of change and his dedication to help midwife it”, Fashola noted that “it is the team and the work they do together that allows any striker, midfielder or defender to thrive”.
The Minister declared, “Therefore collective success must be, and is indeed, more important than individual recognition”, adding, “A Government is no different from a football club, to the extent that they comprise individuals of different talents, passions and experiences who must work together to deliver service to the public”.
“A successful team is led by a Great and resourceful manager, who often has a dependable assistant. In our Government team, President Muhammadu Buhari has discharged that role effectively by picking a team of Ministers whose commitment to change is unquestionable and the Vice President has demonstrated his ability to complement this vision of change and his dedication to help midwife it. On their behalf I accept this Award”, he said.
Acknowledging that every goal scored by a striker was the result of co-ordinated team play, and interchange of passes, Fashola also dedicated the Award to the Federal Executive Council, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Cabinet Office and the Office of the Chief of Staff, saying his Ministry had benefitted from “a well-planned Budget, well-timed cash backing, very massive support and contributions to our Council Memoranda”.
And because of their support and cooperation in financing the various projects of his Ministry, Fashola also dedicated the Award “to those who exercise the power of appropriation in the National Assembly” the Senators, House of Representatives members and all their Committee Chairmen, members and staff, adding that they were the real owners of the Award.
Others on behalf of whom he accepted the Award, according to the Minister, were the Judiciary “as members of the team of change” without whose prompt and efficient determination of some court cases the progress so far achieved would have been hindered.
“No team is complete without the army of backroom staff who we never get to see, but who help the players enormously. The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is blessed with an army of hardworking civil servants, led by two Permanent Secretaries, Directors, the Heads of our parastatals, Deputy Directors, Controllers and other staff who have signed up for change and are daily working towards it. I accept this Award on their behalf”, he said.
Reiterating that no individual recognition was worthy of note if the team was not delivering results, Fashola declared, “My Brother, the Hon. Minister of State in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Baba Shehuri and I accept this Award on behalf of Government as proof that our team is gaining momentum, and the results of Government policies, programmes and action are beginning to manifest”.
Thanking City People and its management for inspiring the administration to pursue change, the Minister also acknowledged the All Progressive Congress, whom he described as “the architects of Change”, saying that although some significant progress has been made, the Party knew that the work was just beginning. “We the team members also know this. We know that it can be a lot better, we commit to do more and to make your lives better”, he said.
The Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, has commissioned 100 Housing units in Ogbomoso, Oyo State.
The Ministerial Housing Scheme was financed by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) in collaboration with Viva International Limited. The Housing Estate is equipped with 50, 000 litres of water supply and reservoirs, 2 nos 500 KVA transformers, lush green recreational areas, fully asphalted road network with street light, walkways and drainages is expected to accommodate about 100 families.
The Minister acknowledged that, ‘’though construction of the housing estate started during the tenure of the last administration, but President Buhari has proven that change does not have to be dysfunctional as a result of ideological and political differences by completing this laudable housing project’’.
Fashola said that a lot of skill acquisition training programme for artisans are currently on-going in the country which in effect provides about 1,000 job opportunities to artisans who were employed during the construction of this housing project. He added that this present administration will continue to pursue infrastructural development as a way out of the nation’s economic woes.
The Minister applauded the present management and the leadership of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) for returning the bank to profitability and disclosed that the mortgage institution returned a surplus of 2.7 billion for the first time in 20 years in 2016.
Earlier in his speech, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajumobi represented by the Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Isaac Omodewu commended the efforts of the Federal Government through FMBN in bridging the housing deficit gap in the country.
Sen. Ajumobi stated that because housing plays a major role in human development and other sectors of the economy, his government took the initiatives of providing housing loan to Civil Servants in the state and also operates land discount policy to encourage private developers to build in order to add to the housing stock in Oyo State.
In his address, the Acting Managing Director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Richard Esin, stated that this estate and other housing estates across the country are financed from the resources of the National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme.
He informed NHF contributors that the Minister has graciously approved that NHF loans of N5 million and below will now attract 100 per cent funding for the purposes of affordability.
The Minister also paid a courtesy visit to the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajumobi were he briefed the governor on the federal government intervention on housing and road projects in the state. He commended the Federal Controllers of Works and Housing, adding that they are good ambassadors and representatives of the Federal Government who should be accorded necessary support to promote socio-economy development.Read More
The Federal Government under President Muhammdu Buhari is using infrastructure development as a vehicle to take the nation out of recession and rebuild the Nigerian economy; and putting the country’s resources where it is necessary for the people.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN affirmed this during a courtesy visit on the Executive Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun as he continues his inspection tour of projects in the South-West geo-political zone.
Fashola requested for collaborative effort between the state government and the Controllers of Works and Housing, appealing that they are granted access at the highest level in order for them to serve and assist the state in whatever capacity to achieve “your developmental goals politically, socially and economically”
The Minister mentioned that the contractors on many of the federal roads in the state are back to construction sites and thus assisting in relating to the neighboring states of Lagos, Oyo and Ondo and further generating employment of Nigerians at the various sites.
Fashola expressed appreciation for the dedication shown by the Governor Amosun in rebuilding federal roads in Ogun State and stated that the Federal Government is committed to repayment of the funds expended on federal roads.
The Federal Controller of Works, Engr. Popoola, earlier said that there are 1,380 Kilometre of federal roads in Ogun State and that the Governor took it upon himself to repair some of the roads and also assisted in removing markets along the federal highways at Mowe and Ibafo.
In response, Governor Amosun expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for the intervention on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway stressing that the road is the busiest in the country; adding that no development could get to any place without infrastructure.
He requested that Ogun State should be adequately compensated for the N123bn which had been certified as expenses on federal roads out of a total of N223bn expended.
Governor Amosun said that state government would be grateful if attention could be focused on the Shagamu-Ajebandele Road reconstruction as it was done on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway; adding that federal government should urgently intervene on the Papa-Olorunsogo interchange Road and the Lagos-Abeokuta old road.Read More
* As 23rd Meeting of National Council of Works ends in Abuja
* Our development, prosperity, survival is tied to our mobility and so is our productivity, social and cultural interactions, he says
* Ministry to award sub-contracts on roads with sections significantly completed, for procurement in collaboration with the main contractors; to be advertised as required by law,subject to open , competitive bids
The Minister of Power Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Thursday stressed the need to raise the country’s transport infrastructure, especially road signage, to acceptable global standard as a means to aid mobility across states and communities within the country.
Fashola, who spoke at the NAF Air Conference Centre venue of the 23rd Meeting of the National Council on Works with the theme, “Adequate Traffic Signage- An Essential Key for Highways Infrastructure, Safety and Comfort,” said the current efforts in building roads, highways and bridges across the country would hardly achieve the objective of mobility if the destinations of these critical transport infrastructures currently being built were not made known through appropriate signage.
In his keynote address at the event, also attended by the Minister of State, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, top Ministry Officials and Legislators as well as Commissioners responsible for Works from the states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, said the need had become more urgent as mobility had become a major commitment of the global urban agenda.
According to the Minister, “As human beings, mobility has become a major commitment of the global urban agenda. This must be so because our development, prosperity and sometimes our survival are tied to our mobility and so is our productivity, social and cultural interactions”.
“Yes, we have to build roads, highways and bridges. But the question then is: Roads, highways and bridges to where? Where do they lead?”, he asked, adding that maps alone would not adequately answer the questions without road signs, which, according to him, “indicates to road users, how far their journey is, how far they have progressed, how much is left to travel”, among other things.
Noting that before the advent of Internet, smart phones and apps, many countries developed maps to help guide transport infrastructure users through their network of roads, Fashola added that road signs would also indicate to road users how far away they were from one village, city, local government, or from critical services like hospitals, fuel stations and hotels or motels “to help ease the stress and tedium of long distance travel”.
The Minister, who expressed sadness that road signs were either non-existent or largely insufficient on the nation’s highways, added that this has made travel through unfamiliar cities and towns across the country difficult pointing out that it would be a herculean task driving by oneself into a city one had never been as one would be ignorant of where to link the next interstate highway, or expect to buy fuel or plan to sleep for the night on a long journey or get medical help in case of a road traffic accident.
He said the proliferation of global, country and state maps on the handheld devices has made it both compelling and urgent for the country to start developing and installing signage on her roads, bridges and highways at interstate and intra-state levels adding, “This is one sure way of facilitating mobility and implementing the local component of the global urban agenda for the benefit of our people”.
Fashola expressed delight that Nigeria, under the leadership of President Buhari, has played a critical and positive role in developing a common African position since 2016 that has helped to shape the Global Urban Agenda adopted in Quito, Ecuador this year to guide the global development until 2036, adding, “What is left is for us, as champions of that African position and urban agenda, to begin to localize and implement its component parts for the benefits of our people”.
Pointing out, however, that it would not be enough to just simply erect any type of sign, in any place or anyhow, the Minister, who noted that they must be produced according to specifications and enduring materials, and “be installed to a minimum standard that ensures their durability, endurance and utility for commuters”, commended the staff of the Works sector of his Ministry for their hard work in developing the specifications and standards.
He also acknowledge the technical support and cooperation that the Corp Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and his team had afforded the Ministry “in the process of developing the size, quality and lettering specifications of these signs”, adding that they would help commuters to navigate their journey across the country as “the human benefit of signage and our mobility policy”.
On the direct economic benefits of traffic signage, Fashola noted that the existence of highway signs was the reason why “the car rental business and its collateral employment thrives in some countries and not in our own”, adding that it would provide financial reward for those who would benefit from the contracts as well as jobs and the financial rewards that would come from producing the signs, fabricating the steel, printing the signs, and the labour to be employed in installing them.
“These benefits are also true of lane marking”, the Minister said adding, “This is why we have chosen this National Council, where states are represented, professional groups are represented and the requisite technical personnel are present to unveil this policy and programme”.
He said Nigeria’s economic needs compelled her to commence the installation of the signage while her roads were still in various stages of completion, instead of waiting until everything was done before beginning “to confer the benefits of lane marking and street signage on our people”.
Fashola disclosed that the Ministry had agreed to compile the list of roads where significant sections have been completed, and prepare them for procurement and award of sub-contracts in collaboration with the main contractors adding that the procurement would “then be advertised in due course as required by law and subject to open and competitive bids”.
Insisting that those who benefit from the contracts perform them to the highest standards of quality, the Minister declared, “We understand that signs can be damaged, and road markings require periodic touching up”, adding that as more sections of roads reach completion they would be subject to similar processes with the expectation that the process would be continuous.
“Therefore, we see a future of maintenance jobs and contracts going forward, to create sustained employment in our road transport sector”, he said adding that there was no better time than this period when the nation’s economy needed “to be creative in order to provide inclusion for unemployed young able-bodied people”.
Commending the theme of the Council Meeting ‘Adequate Traffic Signage - An Essential Key for Highways Infrastructure, Safety and Comfort’ as apt, Fashola declared, “I could think of no better time, when our economy needs and I can think of no better forum than this National Council of Works, to discuss the economic, safety, and people-oriented basis of this policy, to address the theme of this council”.
The Minister, who urged that all hands should be on deck “in order to ensure that the benefits of this policy reach all the sectors of our economy and the people they are designed for”, expressed the hope that the government would be able to count on the stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of the policy.
Earlier, in his goodwill message, Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, Dr. Shettima Bukar Abba, expressed delight that since Fashola assumed duties as Minister of Power, Works and Housing, the National Council on Works had made tremendous efforts in completing and initiating critical projects of monumental importance to drive and reinvigorate economic development in the country.
The Chairman, who listed such critical projects to include the Kano-Maiduguri dual carriageway, the Second Niger Bridge, which he noted had defied previous governments, numerous Power and Housing projects springing up in every state of the Federation, pointed out that they were projects that cut across, not only geopolitical zones, but also all states of the Federation.
“These projects and infrastructural facilities are, no doubt, fulcrum of national unity and integration”, he said expressing delight that the 2017 Budget allocation to the Ministry of Power Works and Housing “has taken into consideration regional and national spread in citing projects to be executed”, he said.
Commending the Minister and his State counterpart for the monumental efforts in driving progress, the Chairman declared, “The Minister’s pedigree as accomplished administrator who has turned Lagos to a model city is gradually being replicated across the country. His zeal, tenacity, passion and workaholic nature is driving the change mantra. We have no doubt that sooner than later the infrastructural deficit the country faces will be a thing of the past”.
Also present at the event were the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Mohammed Musa Bello represented by the Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority, Engr. Umar Jibril, Permanent Secretary (Power), Engr. Louis Edozien , Chairman, Committee on Works, House of Representatives, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, among many other dignitaries and stakeholders.Read More
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN has said that the theme of the 23rd Meeting of the National Council on Works seeks to raise the level and quality of Nigerian transport infrastructure to globally acceptable standards.
Fashola stated this in a paper delivered at the 23rd Meeting of the National Council on Works held at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Conference Centre, Abuja with a theme: “Adequate Traffic Signage- An Essential Key for Highways Infrastructure, Safety and Comfort”
The Minister opined that as human beings, mobility is inevitable because development, prosperity and sometimes survival of human beings are tied to mobility as well as productivity, social and cultural interactions.
He said that Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has played a critical and positive role in developing a common African position since 2016. According to him, Nigeria has helped to shape the Global Urban Agenda which was adopted in Quito, Ecuador, this year, to guide global development up till 2036, but the missing link is to start implementing its component parts for the benefits of Nigerians.
The Minister said some of these benefits would be best appreciated when the highways, roads and bridges are adorned with road signs, adding that this will inform road users on how far their journey is, how far they have progressed, how much is left to travel and how far away they are from one village, city, local government, or from critical services like hospitals, fuel stations and hotels or motels, thereby easing the stress associated with long distance travels.
Fashola disclosed that what will make the travellers enjoy their travel time is the provision of adequate road signs. “This is the best way to facilitate mobility and implement the local components of the Global Urban Agenda for the benefit of Nigerians” he stated that having the road signs erected in any place or anyhow is not enough, but must be in accordance with specifications and quality of materials, it must also be in tandem with minimum standards to ensure their durability to serve the people.
The Minister said aside the benefits of helping commuters to navigate the journey through the provision of road signs on Nigerian roads, it also have direct economic benefits to the people who will benefit from contract jobs that will attract financial rewards as a result of producing the signs, fabricating the steel, printing the signs and the direct labour needed to erect/mount the signs.
Fashola expressed his gratitude to the Minster of the FCT, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello for hosting the 23rd Meeting of the National Council on Works in Abuja. The Minister also appreciated the Minister of State, Honourable Mustapha Baba Shehuri, the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Mohammed Bukar and staff of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing (Works sector) for their hard work in developing very high standards and specific road signs that will stand the test of time.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, represented by the Executive Secretary, FCDA, Engr. U. G. Jibril, expressed his profound gratitude to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, the Minister of State, Honourable Mustapha Baba Shehuri, the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Mohammed Bukar for successfully hosting this year’s Meeting of the National Council on Works in Abuja.
Mallam Bello said the theme of this year’s Meeting, “Adequate Traffic Signage-An Essential Key for Highways Infrastructure, Safety and Comfort” is very important to the residents of the Federal Capital Territory, due to daily increase in the number of motorists plying our highways. He opined that the outcome of the Council’s deliberations will provide the much needed inputs for policy making to address the problem of inadequate and improper signage on some of the highways.
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Works, Hon. Tobi Okechukwu, in his goodwill message at the occasion, congratulated the Council for this year’s Meeting and applauded the organisers for the excellent theme of this year. He said the National Assembly is ready to partner and support the Executive Arm of government on any initiative that is people oriented.
The Chairman, Federal Character Commission, Alhaji Bukar Abba Shetima, while congratulating the Council, also used the occasion to reiterate on the Commission’s mandate and called on the Ministry to adhere to equitable distribution of wealth in line with the mandate of the Commission.
The Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, while giving a Vote of Thanks, congratulated the Minister for the successful hosting as well as for the efficient delivery of the 23rd Meeting of the National Council on Works. He also expressed his appreciation to all the stakeholders who have contributed in one way or the other to the success of the Meeting.
Amongst the dignitaries at the event were, the Permanent Secretaries, Federal Ministry of Power, Works Housing, Works and Housing sector and his counterpart from Power, Louise Edozein, Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries of Works from 36 States of the Federation, the Surveyor General of the Federation, Surveyor Ebisintei Awudu, Assistant Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr. Kayode Olagunju, Directors and Federal Controllers of Works from the 36 States of the Federation.Read More
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, has charged stakeholders in the housing sector to focus more on how to solve the problem of housing deficits in the country rather than magnify the problem. He said inspite of the housing challenges; Nigeria will over time come out if consistent right policies are put in place.
Fashola stated this at the opening ceremony of the 11th Abuja International Housing Show with the theme, Solving Nigeria’s Housing Challenges through Innovative Finance and Infrastructure Solution.
The Minister noted that financing is not only the problem in the housing industry but also the issue of affordability and acceptability, adding that it is important to build to the satisfaction of the off - takers. He said that the Ministry is currently building in 33 States of the federation to respond to the climatic and cultural demands of the people under the National Housing Programme, adding that this will be used as a pilot to interface with the private sector.
While commending the vision and tenacity of Fesadeb Communication Ltd, the organiser, the Minister said that it is important to have a housing economy, an economy that delivers on a value chain that will impact on people’s economic lives like the artisans, mason, plumbers, welders and food vendors.
Earlier in his address, the Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Chairman of the Abuja International Housing Show, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, noted that the choice of the theme for this year’s event is not only apt but appropriate. Oyegun stated that the Buhari administration promised to provide decent and affordable housing to Nigerians through the establishment of the National Housing Programme with a target of raising enough finance to build 1 million housing estates annually within the next decades.
He said that the APC-led government is also committed to bridge the gap of housing deficits by providing affordable housing for low income earners who are the most marginalised due to access to finance. He added that a new housing social project has been included in the economic recovery plan recently launched by the federal government with the objective to reduce the housing deficits and stimulate economic growth of the country.
The Abuja International Housing Show over the years has proved to be a veritable platform that brings stakeholders’ in the built industry together to chat a way forward in solving housing problem in Nigeria.Read More
* Says Senator’s language is unparliamentary, therefore not deserving of a reply
* I need a better budget as a tool to do my work and that is why l am speaking out Minister
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN on Thursday said it was regrettable that the Senate Committee Chairman on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje would seek to trivialize the issues he raised about the unilateral slashing of the budgetary allocation to key national infrastructure by the National Assembly.
In a Statement personally signed by the Minister and sent in from Zimbabwe where he is currently attending the 35th Annual General Meeting of the Shelter Afrique, Fashola said he was responding only for the purpose of refocusing attention to the issues at stake.
According to the Minister, the Senator’s reference to the patriotism of legislators should not be spoken but demonstrated as regards his calls for a more developmental budgeting approach.
Explaining this further, the Minister declared: “In this context, it is left for Nigerians to then decide whether budgeting for constituency roads is more patriotic than budgeting to complete the Kano-Maiduguri Road that connects 5 states, the Lagos-Ibadan road that connects 3 states and helps to move food, imported goods and fuel across the country; or the 2nd Niger Bridge that connects the East and West geopolitical zones of at least 11 states together.
“I will also leave Nigerians to judge whether it is more patriotic to budget for the Mambilla Power Project that will contribute to more power across Nigeria or reduce the budget to build street lights in legislative constituencies.”
The Minister noted that the response to the issues he raised certainly should not have been accusations of his blackmailing the Legislature or referring to those who shared his views as his “surrogates”.
Reiterating his respect for the Parliament as a house where very vigorous debates about development should take place, Fashola advised Senator Goje to acquire the temperament for such debate and disagreement.
“Let me Let me reiterate that I see Parliament as a house where very vigorous debates about development should take place and it is important for Goje to acquire the temperament of debate and disagreement”.
Decrying the Senator’s admonition that he should learn how to “behave” like a “Minister” and the reference to the Senate awaiting how he would be “handled” by the House of Representatives, the Minister declared, “ I think first that the language is unparliamentary and therefore not deserving of a reply”.
Noting that Goje’s faux pas gave a clearer insight into how the Senator and those who may be minded like him may be thinking having transited from the Executive arm to the Legislative arm , the Minister called for caution.
”It seems that it is such people who need a behavioural prescription about legislative function,” Fashola said.
According to the Minister, a good budget remains a necessary tool for the Executive to do its work because when services are inadequate, the members of the public often look to the Executive arm for answers.
“I need a better budget as a tool to do my work and that is why l am speaking out”, he said.Read More
* Says nation in trouble if lawmaker mistakes budgetary appropriation as cash
* Minister insists no concession agreement exists on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge
* Asks Lawmakers to address the slashing of budgetary allocation to key power, infrastructure projects nationwide
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN has expressed deep concern over the recourse of the National Assembly’s Spokespersons to name calling over his observations on the 2017 Budget.
In a Press Release signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Hakeem Bello, the Minister said he was worried that the National Assembly Spokespersons failed to address the fundamental points about development- hindering whimsical cuts in the allocations to several vital projects under the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing as well as other Ministries.
Fashola had, in a recent interview while acknowledging that Legislators could contribute to budget making, disagreed with the practice where the legislative arm of Government unilaterally alters the Budget after putting members of the Executive through Budget Defence Sessions and Committee Hearings to the extent that some of the projects proposed would have become materially altered.
While acknowledging the need for legislative input from the representatives of the people to bring forward their developmental aspirations before and during the Budget production process, the Minister had observed that it amounted to a waste of tax payers money and an unnecessary distortion of orderly planning and development for all sections of the country, for lawmakers to unilaterally insert items not under the Exclusive or Concurrent lists of the Constitution like boreholes and streetlights after putting Ministries , Departments and Agencies (MDAs) through the process of Budget Defence.
Specifically with regards to the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Fashola listed the Lagos- Ibadan Expressway, the Bodo- Bonny road, the Kano-Maiduguri road, the Second Niger Bridge and the long drawn Mambilla Hydropower Project among others as those that the National Assembly materially altered the allocations in favour of scores of boreholes and primary health care centres which were never discussed during the Ministerial Budget Defence before Parliament.
In their responses both the Spokespersons of the Senate and the House of Representatives accused the Minister of spreading “Half-Truths” and making “Fallacious “ statements because he (Fashola) should have known that they only interfered with projects that had concession agreements and private sector funding components. They also accused the Minister of wanting to hold on to such projects in order that he may continue to award contracts.
However, while dismissing the allegations in the course of an official trip outside the country, Fashola said it was sad that the lawmakers would resort to name calling even without understanding the facts of what they were getting into. Taking the projects which the lawmakers chose to focus on one after the other, the Minister insisted that there is no subsisting concession agreement on the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway adding that what the Infrastructure Construction Regulatory Commission (ICRC) has is a financing agreement from a consortium of banks which is like a loan that still has to be paid back through budgetary provisions.
There is no fallacy or half truth in the allegation that the budgets were reduced. The Spokespersons admitted this much and now sought to rationalize it by a concession or financing arrangement that has failed to build the road since 2006. The biggest momentum seen on the road was in 2016.
In the case of the Second Niger Bridge where one of the Spokespersons alleged that the provision in 2016 budget was not spent and had to be returned, Fashola said that this displays very stark and worrisome gaps in knowledge of the Spokesperson about the budget process he was addressing.
According to him, a budget is not cash. It is an approval of estimates of expenditure to be financed by cash from the Ministry of Finance.
The Ministry of Finance has not yet released any cash for the Second Niger Bridge, so no money was returned.
Three phases of Early Works of piling and foundation was approved and financed by the previous Government in the hope that a concession will finally be issued, which has not happened because concessionaires have not been able to raise finance.
The continuation of Early Works IV could not start in May 2016 when the budget was passed because of high water level in the River Niger in the rainy season.
The contract was only approved by the Federal Executive Council in the first quarter of 2017 and the contractor is awaiting payment.
Dismissing the allegation that the Ministry under him was holding on to projects that could be funded through Public Private Partnerships (PPP) so that he could award contracts as a tissue of lies, the Minister said from Day One of his assumption of office, he made it clear publicly and privately that his priority would be to finish as many of the several hundreds of projects that his Ministry inherited which had not been funded for close to three years.
According to Fashola, if the Spokesperson was in tune with the Public Procurement Law which the National Assembly passed, he would realize that the Minister has no unilateral power to award such contracts whose values are in Billions of Naira, adding that all the new projects presented to the Federal Executive Council for approval were either Federal roads requested by State Governments or those put in the Budget by the Legislators to service their constituencies.
Fashola stated that the focus on contracts by the Spokesperson is probably a Freudian slip that reveals his mindset and interests; when indeed he should be focused on Developmental projects that strengthen the economy, which is the focus of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan endorsed by the legislature.
Also responding to the issues that the Budget for the Mambila Power Project was slashed because it contained a “ whooping N17 bn” for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the Minister said there was indeed a mis-description of that particular Expenditure Head which could have happened during the classification of so many thousands of Budget heads in the Budget estimates.
According to him, what was described as a Budget Head for EIA was actually the nation’s counterpart funding to the China- EXIM loan to fund the building of the Mambila Project , adding that this was brought to his attention only after it had been slashed and that if the intention was not to slash arbitrarily it should have been brought to his attention to explain. “At a joint meeting convened at the instance of the Budget Minister when I complained that the budget was slashed, the issue of EIA was brought to my attention and I explained what it was meant for,” Fashola said.
On the issue of the N20 Billion provision in the Ministry’s Budget which the Spokesperson alleged that the Minister failed to give details of, Fashola said the Spokesperson is hiding behind a finger.
The Minister explained that it was a very basic principle of good planning to make provision for unforeseen contingencies adding that in the 2016 Budget , a similar provision enabled the Ministry to respond to the failures of the Tamburawa Bridge in Sokoto, the Ijora Bridge in Lagos and the Gada Hudu Bridge in Koto Karfe along the Abuja – Lokoja Highway. Similarly, the Ministry was able to pay N1BN to the Contractor handling the Suleja to Minna road.
The recent failures caused by flooding along Tegina-Mokwa-Jebba road and Tatabu in Niger State could not have been provided because they were not foreseen and there may be more. “ This is what good planning is about ,“ Fashola said.
Noting that the Senate Spokesperson missed the point in the haste to cast aspersions on him because he was not at the meetings he was speaking about, Fashola said he would have expected a more sober approach to the matter. “ In any event, allegations of half truth is only a flawed response to the constitutional and developmental issues that have plagued Nigeria from 1999 about how to budget for the critical infrastructure in Nigeria. It shows the conflict between the Executive that wants to build big Federal Highways; Bridges ; Power Plants; Rail; and Dams on one hand and Parliament that wants to do small things like Bore holes , Health Centres , Street lights and supplying grinding machines ,” he said.
According to the Minister, being an institutional and not a personal issue, it won’t be out of place to seek a resolution of the conflict at the Supreme Court in order to protect the country’s future, because it is a clear conflict about how best to serve the people.
“As long as Budgets planned to deliver life changing infrastructure are cut into small pieces, Nigeria will continue to have small projects that are not life changing , and big projects that have not been completed in 17 years . If a project would cost N15 Billion and the contractor gets only a fraction of that, then things won’t move. Success should be defined by how many projects an administration is able to complete or set on the path of irreversible completion and not how many poorly funded contracts are awarded,” he said.Read More
The Federal Government through the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, has officially handed over the construction works on the rehabilitation of Apapa – Wharf road to AG-Dangote Construction Company Limited.
The Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, performed the handing over ceremony of the 2 kilometres stretch of the road in Lagos to ensure free movement of residents living in Apapa area and cargo moving in and out of the Apapa Port to the inter-land. He noted that the rehabilitation of the economic road which had deteriorated over the years will be co-funded by the collaborative efforts of the Nigeria Ports Authority, Flour Mills Nigeria Plc and Dangote Group of Company.
Fashola acknowledged the leadership role of Dangote Groups and Flour Mills Nigeria Plc for stepping forward to work with the ministry in finding a lasting solution to the road without any tax relief or deduction coming from federal government.
According to the Minister, the ministry has evolved an appropriate design to fix the drainage problem which over the years has been the major cause of deterioration.. The rehabilitation work on the Apapa – Wharf road is expected to last for the period of one year and will cost over 4 million naira which will be co-funded by Flour Mills Nigeria Plc, Dangote Group and NPA working together.
The Minister further stated that this is just the first part of government intervention in Apapa, adding that other federal roads within Lagos State will receive government attention as budget is funded.
He appealed to all road users within the area to be patient as construction work advances due to sections of the road that would be closed down and other infrastructures such as water and electricity that will be affected during the process of the reconstruction.
In his remarks, the Honorary Adviser to the President of Dangote Group, Engr. Joseph Makoju, thanked the Minister for giving Dangote Group the opportunity to embark on the rehabilitation work and promised that the concrete road when completed will last for between 30 to 40 years.
Makoju added that the company always provide some form of social infrastructures to empower their host communities economically wherever the company is located. He appealed to the government to always create an enabling environment for private sectors to thrive as this will encourage other companies like them to embark on other capital projects in the country.
The Managing Director of Flour Mills Nigeria Plc, Mr. Paul M. Gbededo, noted that Apapa-Wharf road is a major road in the country that generates a huge sum of money on a daily basis and should not be handled with levity.
He enjoined all the stakeholders and road users to cooperate and be disciplined in order to achieve the one year time line completion period.Read More
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, has charged the governing board of Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria (QSRBN) to educate the public on the importance of cost and quality in the delivery of infrastructures across the nation. He stated this at the inauguration ceremony of the newly constituted board of Quantity Surveyors in Abuja.
The Minister said it is imperative for the board to embark on the process of enlightening the public using more of simple and regular words devoid of professional terminologies which might not be understood by a layman.
Fashola noted that the elites, which include professionals in the built environment have significant role to play in terms of the aggregate quality of life in the society. He added that the assumption of the cost of project delivery are sometimes faulty but with Quantity Surveyors, who are the custodian of information on effective costing of projects delivery, can lead the debate by informing the society on the process and importance.
The Minister also urged the board to develop and intensify relationship with institutions of higher learning where Quantity Survey is offered as a course and ensure that the next generations of Quantity Surveyors are professionally trained in order to be gainfully employed and self reliance.
In his remarks, the president of the board of Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria, Mr. Murtala M. Aliyu, FNIQS appreciated the enormity of responsibility, task ahead and the associated challenges. He added that the immediate past board under the leadership of his predecessor, Hussaini Dikko PPNIQS had done very well to upscale the role of the relevance, growth and development of the profession but however noted that this present board will surpass their achievements.
Mr. Aliyu stated that to deal with the enormity of challenge facing the country, Quantity Surveyors should be part of the pre-budget input preparation in order to have a prudent and efficient budgeting. He added that this will bring about correct cost effective template in Nigeria.
He assured the Minister that the newly inaugurated board will do their best in ensuring that ethical code and lay down rules and regulation in the profession is upheld with dignity and in accordance to best practices around the world.Read More
The Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, has challenged the newly reconstituted board of Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON) to come up with harmonized code of charge that will promote ‘’real estate’’ as this will impact on the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
He stated this at the inauguration ceremony of the new board at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja. The Minister charged them to develop an open and nation-wide valuation of real estate database across the nation in order to greatly improve and grow the nation’s economy.
Fashola congratulated the chairman and members of the Board and expressed confident in the broad mix of experience and values the Board is bringing to the nation. The Minister added that ‘’these are people, whose professional mandate is really putting value to light in the area of over seeing how land is turned from dormant into a valuable asset’’.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria, Esv. Olayinka Sonaike, on behalf of the 21 newly inaugurated board members expressed appreciation to be called upon to serve in a rather different capacity of regulating the practise of the profession.
Sonaike stated that the profession is willing to collaborate with the Ministry in the on-going construction of Housing Units across the nation under the National Housing Programme of the Buhari’s administration. He urged that the board be given necessary support to play its regulatory role as expected.
The Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria among other responsibilities is charged with registering persons who are fit and qualify to serve and practice as Estate Surveyors and Valuers; and also regulate the knowledge and the general practice of the profession in the country.Read More
The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN has called on Nigerians to “Grow what they eat and Produce what they use” day to day. He made this call during an Interactive session he held with Public Servants on salary Grade levels 8-14 at the International Conference Centre Abuja.
He added that the future of Nigeria is in the hands of Civil and Public servants, because they are the engine room that provides and prepares for every sitting administration; noting that it is only the Public Servants that determine if jobs can be created; bearing in mind if resources are available to accommodate the new hands and this can be determined through the taxes and revenues generated.
Osinbajo stated that Nigerians need to promote economic diversification and boost the non-oil sector in the face of the current global economic realities; therefore “Made-in-Nigeria” initiative is committed to increase the production of locally manufactured goods and services.
The acting President called on Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the government to grant preference to locally manufactured goods and services, adding that such support for local content in Public Procurement will strengthen the Naira, expand the country’s entrepreneurial capacity and thus lead to greater competition thereby improving the quality of goods and services.
The acting president said the Federal Government is counting on the support of the Public servants to drive the initiative because Information about government’s requirement for products and services will be easily accessible by the general public in order to improve the Nigerian business environment.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, thanked the acting President because it is the first of its kind in the history of the Nation that Officers within these grade levels (8-14) will be meeting with the top Head of Government.
She encouraged public servants to be good ambassadors at their various MDAs and informed that as the Government is handling the abandoned projects, it is also committed to settling the outstanding arrears in all the sectors.
Also present at the occasion where Ministers of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Raji Fashola; Interior, Gen Abdulrahaman Danbazua (Rtd) Industry Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah; Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Head of Service, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita and Permanent Secretaries.Read More
* Minister appeals to residents, those earning livelihood from Apapa for patience
* Design, other requirements for reconstruction of Wharf road with concrete to last for at least 30 years ready
* Procurement details, Heads of Agreement ready for signing of MOU with Companies supporting project ahead of presentation for FEC approval
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN, has reiterated that the Apapa Area in Lagos is a priority for the Federal Government under the Ministry’s programme to solve the issue of roads leading to critical ports in the country.
According to the Minister, who was interacting with newsmen in Abuja at the weekend, at the end of Day One of the Federal Ministry of Power Works and Housing’s Retreat, arrangements for the deployment of an enduring solution on Wharf road were near closure.
Fashola who explained that a couple of private companies had offered to work with Government in terms of fixing Wharf Road, said the design and other requirements for the road were ready adding what was left now was to sign a formal Memorandum of Understanding before proceeding to the Federal Executive Council for approval.
“ I just want to appeal to residents of Apapa, to people whose livelihood depends on Apapa, that Apapa is one of the priority roads under our priority of Works to solve roads that lead to critical ports. We also have Calabar on our radar. But one by one there would be an enduring solution. We’ve done the design, we’ve done everything for Apapa, it’s ready. It’s going to be a concrete road, I believe, that will last another 30 years. So we are close to starting work,” Fashola said.
The Minister, who was certain that work would start in a couple of weeks, pointed that irrespective of the fact that the fund of the Companies, offering to support the project,was private money there had to be some transparency on how to procure it adding that those procurement guidelines were being followed because, according to him, “In government, if you receive a gift, it must have a value and you must declare that value”.
“So we needed to get certification of all these prices before we get approval from the Federal Executive Council to allow this to happen, that is the only delay. But we are very close; we have held two meetings in the last 10 days with the companies. We have agreed Heads of Agreement. What is left now is to sign a formal Memorandum of Understanding before which we can then proceed to Council”, he said.
Fashola also explained that government wanted to be clear whether what the companies were offering was simply Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or they wanted a tax refund for what they were offering adding that the challenge of inadequate budgetary allocation had affected the roads over the years.
“Year on year , you will see that the provisions for the budget funding of Apapa and the Tin Can Island and Mile 2 – Oworonsoki Roads, all of which evacuate the Port have not been sufficient really to deal with the cost”.
Appealing to residents and other users of the road to exercise a little more patience, Fashola explained further, “The cost that we are getting from the contractor there is in the region of about N100Billion and above and the annual budgetary appropriation that is approved for us is about N7 Billion. And then there are debts that we met”.
The Minister also noted that the problem of the Apapa area has been compounded by the excess tonnage on the access routes due to the absence of a rail link which used to take the tonnage off the roads which is also being looked at.” Apapa has many problems one of which is the excess tonnage. There used to be a rail link there to evacuate the Port. From the time we stopped using the rail link and went on to the road, we started degrading the quality of the road. There is only so much tonnage that you can put onto a road”, he said.
On the purpose of the Retreat for Directors, Heads of Departments and Agencies which focussed on “Teamwork for Optimal Productivity”, the Minister said it was for team building for service delivery adding, “A good team where members know their strength and weaknesses, know their strong points and their common purpose is likely to deliver more results in quicker time and more effectively”.Read More
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has urged journalists to be objective and unbiased in carrying out their responsibility, saying that the world is changing and Nigeria cannot be left behind, therefore, he charged them to take up the challenge by informing the public rightly and investigating their sources of news thoroughly and balancing their stories before going to public domain.
Fashola gave this advice when he received in audience, the Executive Members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Oyo State Council in his Abuja office late yesterday.
The Minister said that the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari, is leaving no stone untouched on how to make life better for Nigerians in the face of the economic meltdown, adding that government is also committed to security of lives and properties, fight against corruption and improving the nation’s economy.
Fashola stated that the decision of the Federal Government to repositioning the economy through infrastructural development has begun to yield positive result; mentioning “that the contractors on many of the federal roads across the country are back to construction sites engaging host communities by creating employment to Nigerians and generating wealth.” This he added has improved economic status of most Nigerians along such road alignment.
Earlier, the Chairman, the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Oyo State Council, Comrade Adewumi Faniran, had expressed the council’s appreciation to the Minister and the Ministry’s Officials for their unalloyed commitment in making sure that the interest of Nigerians is protected, saying that the council has been monitoring the performance of the Ministry under the leadership of the Minister and that the council is satisfied.
Faniran promised the Minister of the Council’s readiness to make itself available for any media assistance whenever the case arose. The council also used the occasion to inform the Minister about the forth-coming 50 Years Anniversary of the Council on June 12, 2017 and the Minister has been selected as a Guest Speaker and will be decorated as the Man of the Year.Read More
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN has stated that the Power Sector will continue to be a major contributor in getting Nigeria out of the economic recession by improving electricity supplies to industrial, commercial and small and medium enterprises in the country.
The Minister stated this at the presentation of a book to him titled "Power Sector Under President Muhammadu Buhari" in his office in Abuja recently.
He revealed that the Power Sector is one of the 5 key intervention programmes of the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) recently launched by the government. The Minister commended the author of the book, Mr. Uche Aneke for his in-depth knowledge of the sector and simplifying the knowledge of electricity to the ordinary Nigerian.
During the monthly operators tour meeting, Babatunde Raji Fashola explained that power sector need to engage everybody so as to reveal to Nigerians government's effort.
The author of the book, Mr. Uche Aneke earlier disclosed that the book makes an effort to document activities in the power sector, especially the giant strides the Minister made since coming on board.
The author appreciated the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina who took time out of his busy schedule to write the forward of the book.
Washington, DC, April 22, 2017 – The World Bank Group and the Federal Government of Nigeria today had a high level consultation meeting to discuss World Bank Group support for the Government’s Power Sector Recovery Program, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria on March 22, 2017. The current status of the power sector characterized by poor service and lack of liquidity is a source of macro-economic imbalances and a binding constraint to the revival of growth for the country. The Power Sector Recovery Program focuses on supporting implementation of power sector reform, reducing losses in the distribution companies, enhancing the sector’s financial viability, increasing access to electricity services, and mobilizing private sector investment.
“The approval of the Power Sector Recovery Program by the Federal Executive Council demonstrates that the Federal Government is committed to the sustainable development of the power sector. The implementation of the Program is critical to achieving the objectives of the Government’s Economic Growth and Recovery Plan,” said H.E. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, Minister for Power, Works and Housing.
“There is need for well-designed derisking in order to attract private investors to the sector,” said Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance. “All the agencies of Government will work in concert to ensure implementation of the Power Sector Recovery Program.”
“The legislative arm of the Nigerian government is fully committed to the successful implementation of the Power Sector Recovery Program,” said Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Steel and Metallurgy.
“We will make sure our oversight functions focus on the completion of projects and initiatives that support the effectiveness of the Power Sector Recovery Program” said Honourable Dan Asuquo, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Power.
The World Bank Group congratulated the Government on its commitment to the Recovery Program, stressing the critical importance of the power sector for Nigeria’s development and for restoring macroeconomic resilience and growth. The meeting discussed the action plan set out in the Program, stressing the need for strong interagency coordination to ensure that it attains its aims.
"Controlling the cost of electricity supply is a critical element of the Recovery Program that will require close attention to prioritizing investments based on least cost power development investment planning principles,” said Riccardo Puliti, World Bank Senior Director for Energy and Extractive Industries.
“A turnaround of the power sector will require the expertise and financing of the private sector,” said Bernard Sheahan, Global Director for Infrastructure and Natural Resources at the International Finance Corporation. “This would require continuous improvement in the investment climate in Nigeria and strong communications among stakeholders of the sector reform plan during its implementation.”
“A full range of instruments will be deployed to help the Government mobilize investments directly from the private sector and through private sector guarantees,” said Sarvesh Suri, Director of Operations at the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.
The World Bank Group reaffirmed its strong partnership with the Government of Nigeria in addressing the challenges in power sector, that include bringing its experience in developing financing solutions and attracting private sector capital in Nigeria. The meeting resulted in agreement on the next steps in developing the World Bank Group’s support, recognizing the need for concerted efforts to accelerate its preparation.
“The World Bank Group is committed to supporting the implementation of the Government’s Power Sector Recovery Program to re-establish financial sustainability in the power sector,” said Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria.
In Abuja (Federal Government of Nigeria): Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Power, Works and Housing: Louis Edozien, firstname.lastname@example.org
In Abuja (The World Bank Group): Olufunke Olufon, 08149921055, email@example.com
In Washington (The World Bank Group): Ekaterina Svirina, (202) 458-1042, firstname.lastname@example.org
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* Agreement is key aspect of the finalization of the PPA signed last year between Federal Government and 14 Solar Power developers
* Fashola presides at event, reiterates importance of Nigerians investing in the nations economy
* Assures Nigerians that the aspirations to see more renewable energy are being met with results imminent
The Minister of Power Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN, Tuesday in Abuja presided over the signing of the Put/Call Option Agreements (PCOA) with two Solar Power developers. – Afrinegia Nigeria Limited and CT Cosmos Nigeria Limited.
The Agreement, which was co-ordinated by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET), is a key aspect of the finalization of the Power Purchase Agreement which the Federal Government signed with 14 Solar Power developers in July/August last year to deal with any premature termination of the PPA. Afrinegia Nigeria Limited will deliver 50MW while CT Cosmos will deliver 70MW to the Grid on completion.
Making his remarks at the event, the Minister who described the signing of the PCOA as a milestone, again stressed the importance of Nigerians investing locally as a way of supporting the ongoing efforts by Government in rebuilding the country. He noted that experience had shown that whenever the investment weather got stormy and cloudy in the country, it was the persistence, perseverance and indomitable spirit of the indigenous investors that would support Government adding that the moving investors would simply look for calmer investment weather.
According to the Minister, “Sometimes when the weather gets stormy and cloudy, like it has been a few months back, some of the first people to go are the moving investors as they look for calmer weather. It is the persistence and perseverance and the indomitable spirit of Nigerians who have invested in Nigeria that will help to support the efforts that Mr President and the Vice President and the Nigerian Government are making to rebuild the Nigeria that we want to see”.
Thanking the two local investors for their confidence in the nation’s economy, Fashola said the Solar development initiative was in line with the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Programme pointing out that one of the five priority actions of the 60 interventions in the Plan was Energy Supply which was the responsibility of his Ministry.
The Minister said the initiative also sat well with the objective of his Ministry to get Incremental Power wherever it was available, safe and environmental friendly adding that it also agreed appropriately with the Global trend in renewables and Nigeria’s commitment as a signatory to the Agreement to seek more sources of renewable Energy and deliver energy “in the way that it sustains the Planet and human life for a more enduring period”.
“It sits very well with our Ministry’s Energy Mix to deliver 30 per cent of our total energy capacity through renewables by 2030”, he said adding, “So it has ticked all of the right boxes; what remains now is to tick the final box to get power to peoples’ homes”.
Recalling a similar ceremony when Government signed the Power Purchase Agreements sometime last year, Fashola, who noted that he made it clear that it was the starting of a journey that could take several months or a couple of years, declared, “We have reached a major milestone in that journey today”.
The Minister, who again thanked the investors and wished them success, assured Nigerians that all of the aspirations to see more renewable energy were being met “with Policy Initiatives, action backed movements”, adding, “The journey has started and the results are imminent”.
He noted that Solar represented only one of the sources of renewable energy that government was currently pursuing adding that there were also hydros and Government was similarly procuring six more hydro dams as well as working in Dadin Kowa, Zungeru and Gurara.
According to Fashola, “We also are very near close to concluding the signing of the contract to commence the biggest hydro plant in Nigeria-the Mambila. So the road to renewables here is really exciting and I am looking forward to seeing what the road will look like in a couple of months”.
The Minister, who expressed the hope that “sooner rather than later” Nigerians would begin to feel the impact of the companies with energy supply especially to communities that were yet to experience and benefit from access to energy, also on behalf of the government and people of Nigeria, thanked the companies for their investment belief and investment commitment.
Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary (Power), Mr. Louis Edozien, expressed joy at the signing ceremony which he said marked a very important day in the Power Sector describing the event as the last bus stop in the process of getting a grid solar power.
According to the Permanent Secretary, the event represented the last bus stop as the Ministry had, in the last one and a half years surmounted several hurdles leading to the day’s event including getting the PPA signed and getting the projects to financial closure adding that the last bus stop to the Financial closure was the signing of the Put/Call Option Agreement (PCOA)which was the day’s event.
Edozien, who said he would be happy to work with the two indigenous companies declared, “Here we are; this is the last bus stop and we hope and expect that after this, the next stop in the journey will be power on the grid”.
In her remarks, the Managing Director/CEO of NBET, Dr. Marilyn Amobi, also described the day as a very important one for both NBET and the entire Power Sector expressing delight that the process was now at a very high level of conclusion leading to the actual execution of the contract.
Also present at the signing ceremony, which, according to NBET “marks the end of the development stage of Nigeria’s quest to deploy grid solar to the nation’s energy mix” were the Chairman of Afrinegia, Mr Bestman Uwadia who signed on behalf of Afrinegia and his CT Cosmos counterpart, Mr Phillip Chukwueke, who signed on behalf of his organisation. The event was also witnessed by the companies’ international lenders group led by European International Bank and AfDB and also their Engineering Procurement Contractors, AEE Power of Spain as well as their International legal advisory team led by Jones Day Solicitors. While Afrinegia has its solar project at Onyi Kokona LGA of Nassarawa State, CT Cosmos is developing its own project at Panyam, Mangu LGA, Plateau State.Read More
* As Fashola chairs 14th Power Sector Operators’ Meeting in Oshogbo
* Payment of MDA debts starts with initial tranche of N374,551,000 to Abuja DisCo for outstanding debts at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja.
* Aregbesola acknowledges gradual improvement of electricity supply especially in Osun State; underscores the importance of the Power Sector Recovery Plan
* NERC will issue red cards, yellow cards and where it is necessary award penalties-Minister
Power Sector Operators rose from their 14th Monthly Meeting with the Minister of Power Works and Housing in Osogbo, Osun State with the Federal Government expressing its commitment to tariffs that would ensure a self-sustaining power sector and supporting the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission in applying sanctions where appropriate to ensure operators comply with the rules.
In a Communiqué after the Meeting hosted by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) at the National Control Centre, Osogbo, the Vice Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, who made the commitment also said the focus of the recently reconstituted commission would include enforcing DisCos’ metering commitments, prepaid meters for MDAs, centralised management of market revenues collected from all customers, appropriate capitalisation of DisCos, and prudent procurement.
According to the Communiqué, the Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria, also restated the company’s commitment to expand transmission infrastructure and improve its operation and performance within the Power Sector value chain while encouraging the industry to take necessary steps to address the problem of unutilized load (previously described as load rejection) currently causing high system frequency on the National Grid.
Emphasizing that the purpose of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) was to ensure that citizens could access power safely, reliably, and consistently, the Minister, who chaired the Meeting, said the Agency must remain committed to ensuring the achievement of these objectives tasking NERC with ensuring fair play for consumers and providers within the sector among other objectives.
The Minister also reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to its responsibilities in the sector, through policies such as the Power Sector Payment Assurance Guarantee to ensure liquidity stability in the sector so that generating companies are paid for their services stating also that all stakeholders should remain committed to their various roles in supplying and distributing power to ensure that the power sector functioned effectively.
The Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who was also in attendance acknowledged the gradual improvement of electricity supply especially in Osun State which hosts the National Control Centre even as he also underscored the importance of the Power Sector Recovery Plan as critical to ensuring accountability for losses, improving customer service, customer accessibility, safety, and performance in the sector.
Urging electricity customers to play their role in the success of the industry, through the timely payment of bills, ending the vandalism of power assets, and the assault of electricity workers who seek to install or read meters, the Minister announced that Federal Government had started fulfilling its promise to pay verified debts by the payment of an initial tranche of N374,551,000 to Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) for outstanding MDA debts at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja.
The meeting received confirmation from Independent System Operator (ISO) that the intention of Paras Energy (a private generating company) to sell 60MW internationally would not jeopardize the power purchased by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET) for use in the domestic market while NDPHC provided updates on host community connections in Egbema, and announced significant progress on Oronta and Omotosho which were previously limited by funding challenges.
While progress was also announced on reconnecting Magboro community, subject to safety checks by the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA). Olorunsogo Power also stated that funding of road repairs in the host community has also been approved while TCN presented a report on the problem of unutilized load on the grid and committed to working closely with the DisCos to eliminate the occurrence of the problem.
While TCN announced a 9 per cent improvement in energy delivered to DisCos from the Transmission Company of Nigeria for the month of February, as compared to January, Ikeja and Yola DisCos showed improved remittance to the Market Operator for services rendered in the month of February even as TCN also encouraged sector participants to fulfil all their obligations to ensure the success of the Power Sector Recovery Plan.
Acknowledging incidents of insider malpractice and the negative impact on customers following a NEMSA report on its investigation of various customer complaints especially complaints related to the integrity of meters, the Meeting agreed on the need for vigilance to eliminate such cases.
TCN, which presented a brief on ongoing works to address specific challenges and limitations around the country, also acknowledged the delay in replacing the damaged 60MVA transformer at Katampe which caused prolonged load shedding and poor service in parts of Maitama, Wuse II and Jabi in Abuja while NERC reported on stakeholder performance for 2016.
DisCos were ranked based on metering progress, NBET and Market Operator remittance, amongst other indicators. Eko DisCo was ranked as the best performing Distribution Company, while Kaduna DisCo was ranked as the lowest. Okpai (Thermal Plant) and Jebba (Hydro Plants) were ranked as the best performing in their respective categories, based on indicators such as percentage availability and reporting compliance.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Fashola had urged operators in the industry to play their roles, honestly, accountably and efficiently as Government was now determined to enforce the rules in the sector saying with the reconstitution of the Board of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Government was determined to make the change required to reposition the sector for effective supply of electricity to Nigerian consumers.
Noting that the role of government, as represented by his Ministry, was now that of Policy formulation, Oversight functions and enablement for all of the operators to play their parts, the Minister added, “The regulator in this business is NERC; that is the official referee of the interactions. They will issue red cards, yellow cards and where it is necessary, award penalties”.
He told the Operators and Stakeholders, “I hope all of you the players in the industry will get ready for what is a change of behaviour, a change of attitude”, adding that after 60 years or more of a difficult Electricity Sector experience nobody should presume that it would be a walk in the park to make the change.
Reiterating the determination of Government to make the difference in spite of the past experiences, Fashola declared, “For Mr President, this Government is determined to make that change and it requires everybody to play their roles honestly, accountably and efficiently”, adding that in the last three weeks, especially since February, government was now “stepping up valiantly to its responsibilities and confronting the challenges in the sector”.
“Some of the things that happened since February, if we should and I will recap, is that the Regulatory Commission has been substantially reconstituted and they have briefed us now what they are doing. In terms of policy, Government has taken action to approve a Payment Assurance Guarantee that addresses the liquidity challenges in the sector”, the Minister said.
He, however, noted with regrets that “some Association of DisCos” was reportedly saying that N701Billion was not enough to provide for them pointing out that Government did not contract with an association but with 11 individual Distribution companies.
Acknowledging the right of the DisCos to associate as a constitutional guarantee, the Minister, however, reiterated, “We don’t have contract with an association and the regulator knows what to do in terms of the exercise of its rights and we leave them to take their decisions”.
He said what Government wanted to achieve was not to give anybody money but to guarantee to those who did their work diligently, honestly and performed their contracts “that their entitlements are receivable to be secured and paid” adding that it would enable others across the value chain to also perform their roles.
On the payment of debts owed the DisCos by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Fashola said lately Government was not only verifying DisCo debts as reported consistently in the Meeting, but recently paid about N374,551,000 debt owed by the Federal Secretariat in Abuja to the Abuja DisCo as proof of its commitment to paying debts that it could verify.
Assuring that government would continue to pay in that vein, the Minister, however, expressed regrets that some DisCos have still failed to furnish the government with all the information needed adding, “I have reiterated that we will not pay any debt that we cannot verify”.
The Minister also told the Operators that the Federal Executive Council has approved an Energy Recovery Programme, which, according to him, “cuts across the issues of gas, transmission, metering, loss reduction, contract enforcement, customer service and consumer protection to mention a few” adding, “What this means again is that Government is determined to enforce the rules including on itself. Government is not above the law”.
He declared, “The daily losses in the Power Sector are avoidable and they must be avoided. Every loss must be accounted for and paid for whether it be by cash or by sanction or by the combination of both and more. This is a business and I have had cause to say that in any business that is properly run, when losses begin to occur those who run those businesses pay for them either by losing their jobs, or making refunds or by resigning”, adding, “We are heading in that direction”.
“Whether it be in government, whether it be in the Private Sector; we will track every loss and we will apportion it at every door and we expect that those losses will be accounted for. So this is the time for everyone to sit up, to close up and be ready to assume his own role or ship out of the sector”.
Fashola said because a large part of the Power Sector was now in private hands it was important to emphasize that the burden of compliance would tilt heavier to the side of the Private Sector adding, however, that with the NERC Commissioners fully on board and demonstrating that they knew why Mr President appointed them to deliver the mandate given to them by law, there was high expectation that both his Ministry and the Operators’ businesses would succeed.
“It is good to now have the Commissioners of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission fully on Board and demonstrably showing that they know why Mr President appointed them and expectedly they will commit to delivering on the mandate given to them by law and by the appointment”, he said adding that if the Commission succeeds his Ministry would succeed while the Operators’ Businesses would do well and Nigerians would have better access to electricity.Read More
The Hon. Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Hon Mustapha Baba Shehuri has said that President Muhammadu Buhari's administration is unequivocally committed to addressing the housing needs of Nigerians through the National Housing Programme (NHP). He said the Programme was part of Federal Government's campaign promise to provide critical infrastructure that would enhance the socio- economic development of the country.
The Minister, who was in Minna, Niger State, on the first leg of his inspection tour of NHP sites in the North- Central geo-political zone, stated this during a courtesy call on the Governor of the State, who was represented by the Acting Governor, Alhaji Ahmad Muhammed Ketso. He informed him that the Ministry was constructing about 80 housing units in the state in the first phase of the Programme, while promising that the state would benefit more as government continues to drive the Programme. He thanked the Acting Governor for the magnanimity of the state in providing a 5 - acre plot of land for the NHP, adding that the location of the site is amongst the best in the country.
In his response, His Excellency said the state will continue to collaborate with the Federal Government in bringing development to the people geared towards improving their living standards. He, however, observed that local contractors in the state were not being considered in the Programme and appealed to the Minister to consider them in subsequent phases of the Programme in accordance with the "local content" component of the laudable initiative. He also advised that the Ministry should maintain quality supervision of all its projects in its quest to deliver enduring and quality services to the people.
The Federal Controller of Housing, Niger State, Mr Felix Appia, while commending the collaborative efforts between the State and the Federal Government in the execution of Federal Government projects, disclosed that the Ministry apart from the housing Programme, is also undertaking other projects such as solar - powered boreholes and construction of classroom blocks, under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) projects and the renovation of the Federal Secretariat Complex.
The Minister later proceeded to inspect the construction site situated within the Three Arms Zone, where he met with contractors, artisans, suppliers of building materials, food and allied items vendors. They expressed appreciation to the Federal Government for the laudable initiative, stating that the Programme has opened up new vistas of opportunity for them to revive their means of livelihood.
Hon. Shehuri expressed satisfaction at the pace and quality of on-going works at the construction site, while urging the contractors to sustain the tempo and be consistent in the use of the best quality materials for the buildings. The 80 - unit Housing Estate comprises of 4 units of one-bedroom, 52 units of two-bedroom and 24 units of three-bedroom, which are at various stages of completion.
In Ilorin, Kwara State, the Minister, while on a courtesy call on the Executive Governor, His Excellency, Abdulfatah Ahmed, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Elder Peter Kisira (JP) reemphasize the need for collaboration between the state and the Federal Government in the provision of affordable housing to Nigerians. He equally appreciated the effort of the state government in the provision of choice land for the NHP.
While at the 72-unit on-going construction site, Hon. Shehuri, in an interactive session with Ministry's officials, contractors, artisans, labourers, suppliers of building materials, food vendors and others, stated that the essence of NHP, apart from the provision of affordable housing, is to add value to the wellbeing of Nigerians by creating employment as well as encourage standardization of building materials which will boost local content.
The Federal Controller of Housing, Kwara state, Arc. Felix Ale, while briefing the Minister on progress of work, disclosed that the Estate comprise of 4 units of one-bedroom flats, 44 units of two-bedroom and 24 units of three-bedroom apartments, promising that with sustained funding of the project, speed and quality are assured.
Also, at the construction site of a 76-unit Housing Estate in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, the Federal Controller of Housing, Arc. Veronica Enesi gave the break down as 4 units of one-bedroom, 48 units of two-bedroom and 24 units of three-bedroom apartments. The Minister assured the contractors of prompt payment for satisfied jobs, while admonishing officials supervising the project to adhere strictly to specifications and timelines of the contract.Read More
* As Omotosho Community braces up for supply from Power Plant after years of black out
* Managing Director NDPHC assures that the community would be connected before end of April
* Fashola seeks factual reporting of Power Sector developments, commends confidence of Nigerian investors in their economy
The Managing Director of Omotosho Power Company, Engr. Samuel Itsekiri has commended the Federal Government for the steps being taken address the Gas and liquidity challenges as well as resolving the community issues affecting the performance of the Power Plant.
Giving a background of the Omotosho Power Plant after conducting the Hon. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN round during his tour of Projects in the South West zone, the Managing Director said the Power Plant located at the Omotosho Forest Reserve in Okitipupa LGA, was commissioned on April 17, 2007, privatized on November 1, 2013 to Pacific Energy Company Limited, and is “an open cycle gas-turban power plant with a capacity of 335MW”.
But, according to him, under local conditions, the capacity is 304MWs, adding with eight turbines at takeover, the availability was very poor. “We had just three units available at that time running at minimal load. But as at today due to the efforts of the Pacific Group, who sourced for funds and the amount of money spent, we are happy to announce to you that the plant records (80) per cent availability”, he said.
He told the Minister, “We have all our units running and it might interest you to know that in December 2015 when we had enough gas we generated 307MWs, 2MWs above installed capacity. All the plants are still very healthy. This feat has been possible because of our technical experts”.
On some of the constraints the company has, the Managing Director who listed gas as the major one, however, thanked the Minister for the efforts he is making to address it adding that about three months back the company barely ran 1,2 or 3 units at reduced load.
“But as at today, because of the efforts you are making and that of the Government, we have six units running at full load and the other two are still available. The gas supply has been improving gradually; so as soon as the gas improves further we will add the other two”, he assured.
He commended the Minister for the efforts he is also making to make funds available for Generation Companies like Omotosho disclosing that he just returned from Abuja where he had gone for a meeting and learnt of the efforts the Minister has made to improve their fund supply.
On stability, which he also named as another major challenges, the Managing Director expressed delight that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) was now working on it because, according to him, the Minister has given them a marching order to look at it.
He added, however, “But that area has not been totally solved because we are still having some few tripping. Last week we still recorded some and this week I heard we’ve recorded one”, expressing joy that the level of tripping was reducing as work goes on. “We believe that in a short time from now that issue will also be resolved”, he said.
He thanked the Minister for his intervention on the community issue adding, “The power supply to the host community is an issue that has been there for a long time. But happily about a month ago we drew the attention of the Hon. Minister to it and he has taken it up. Presently the Niger Delta Power Holding Company is on it. A team visited me about a week ago to assess what is to be done and is being done”.
He commended the Minister’s commitment to the “onerous task of providing light for all Nigerians”.
After years of blackout in spite of playing host to two power stations (335 Megawatts Omotosho Phase I Power Plant now owned by Pacific Energy Limited and 500MW Megawatts Omotosho Phase II Power Plant developed by Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited), the Omotosho Community will soon be beneficiaries of electricity supply from the Power Plants.
Earlier, while speaking with the staff of the company and members of the Omotosho Community at the premises of the company, Fashola disclosed that the Managing Director of Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited, Mr Chiedu Ugbo has assured that the community would be hooked onto the power before the end of April.
Fashola, who noted that issue of the local community supply was an inherited problem, explained further that it took some time to solve because government felt that the larger national interest of protecting the power plant transmission substation, commissioned in 2007, was very important just like the need to supply light to the community.
The Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited had constructed a 33kV distribution line from the power plant substation to the Omotosho Community. However, it could not be connected because of concerns that distribution faults arising from the line as a consequence of abnormal load connections could damage the Power Transformer in the Power plant substation, which will adversely affect the power plant itself.
Assuring the community that the issue was already being addressed, the Minister, said the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) had come to assess the situation and were doing what was necessary. He thanked the Omotosho Community for waiting and for forbearing, adding, “But help and solution is on the way”.
Fashola, who described the decision by Pacific Energy Company Limited to invest in the Omotosho Phase 1 Plant as “a big statement of confidence by Nigerians in their economy”, expressed delight that the reality would provide a basis for true and factual reporting for the media. He said the facts as witnessed during the tour proved wrong the tendency of some sections of the media whom he said sometimes indulge in over-generalization that the companies that bought the nation’s power assets were not investing.
The Minister declared, “I am happy that some of you the press men are here; because I hope that this will begin to provide the factual basis for your reporting; Because there has been too much generalization of what is happening and what is not happening and it is not helping the public to know the truth and facts from opinions”.
“This was an asset when they bought it, as you have seen, some of the turbines were not operational. Today all the turbines are now operational and it means they did something. So it is not correct, as some of you are reporting, that they have not invested any money. So, I think you need to correct that based on your experience”, he said.
He, however, explained that while the turbines have been fully repaired they, like the generators, needed fuel which, in this case, is gas adding, “The more gas we get, the more power we will get”.
Fashola commended the President, the Vice President, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, the Managing Director NNPC and all of those who are involved in producing and supplying gas and all the private investors “for the work, the commitment that we have seen, the Legislators, the Senators, Members of the House of Representatives and all in the family”.
“It is a family event not just our Ministry. Everybody is doing something and we want everybody to do more”, the Minister said adding that in order to achieve success it was important that those who indulge in breaking the gas pipelines desist from the act.
He declared, “But we must also appeal to our brothers who are breaking the pipelines; because it is important for all of us to understand that we can fix this problem some of which we have seen and which we have solved. There will be no life without problems. Our responsibility is to confront them, engage them and find solutions to them”.
Thanking the staff of the company, especially the Nigerian workers, whom he described as “the solution to our problem”, Fashola, who praised them for the work they are doing in the place, declared, “And on behalf of Mr. President I thank you. He continues to tell me to thank all of those who are helping to build Nigeria by working hard; he continues to tell me, ‘everywhere you go, thank them for me’ and I know you are qualified for that thanks from the President”.Read More
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN has reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to assist every state in the Federation towards the achievement of their developmental agenda within the scope of the nation’s Constitution.
Fashola stated this at the beginning of his inspection tour of road projects in the South-West geo-political zone with a courtesy visit on the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.
The Minister who had travelled from Abuja by road to the state capital, Ado Ekiti said that help is on the way with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as far as road infrastructure is concerned; adding that the President is committed to redeem the expenses of state governments on federal roads. He explained that the Federal Government is in the process of raising bonds to ensure that states get their money back.
He expressed the optimism that the government at the Federal level will assist the state to achieve its agenda, as the ministry is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Finance in providing the fund required for payment to construction companies.
Fashola also enjoined State Governments to treat the Federal Controllers of works and Housing in the various states as they treat Ambassadors in order to make the roads safe and motorable. He asked for seamless relationship and co-operation as the Controllers would be held accountable for the condition of federal roads within their domain.
He expressed appreciation to the State Government for the provision of land for the National Housing Programme which he said would be beneficial to the state as it would provide jobs and economic opportunies for indigenes of Ekiti State.
Earlier, the Federal Controller of Works, Engineer Hezekiah Kehinde, had briefed the Governor and senior officials of the State on the situation of the various Federal roads in the State.
Governor Ayodele Fayose, in his response stated that for the Minister to travel by road from Abuja to Ekiti, “to feel what the ordinary Nigerians are feeling on the road” is enough statement to convince people of the Minister’s passion and commitment to improve the status of the roads and the well being of Nigerians.
The Governor promised to remove the signposts which he had erected on federal roads in the state and to tone done his criticism of the Federal Government, hoping that the Minister will match words with action.
Mr. Fayose asked the Minister to revisit the issue of payment to the State Government for the intervention on the Akure-Ikere-Ado Ekiti federal road on which he had done a lot and spent a considerable amount of about N2billion.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has rekindled the hope of state governments across the nation that Federal Government is working assiduously to see that in no distant time, the money incurred by the states on Federal road projects will be paid back, saying that “Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to fulfill his promise by paying all expense incurred by the state governments on federal roads.”
Fashola revealled this in Osogbo while playing a courtesy call on the Governor of Osun state, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola in his office during an inspection tour to Federal government projects under his ministry in the South-West geo-political zone recently.
He explained that the Federal Government is working hard to see that bond is raised so that states get their money back.
The Minister stated that the purpose for the Federal government to post the Federal Controllers to the state of the federation is not to engage in rivalry game but to strengthening the cordial relations between the Federal and the state governments, therefore they are partners in progress and they must be seen as the representative of Federal Government.
Fashola applauded Osun state government for its quick intervention on Gbongan-Kwara state boundary road, which will ultimately going to lead to economic recovery of Nigerians as well as reducing the travel time of the commuters plying along this corridor.
In his response, the Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, expressed his gratitude to the Minister and by extension to President Muhammadu Buhari for keeping to his promises since assumption of office.
The governor explained the seal for his administration to embark on infrastructural development. He said “his government appreciates importance of infrastructure development as one of the ways that will improve economic activities as well as employment generation of the people, hence the government took a giant step to intervene in many road projects across the state, whether Federal Government roads, state roads or local government roads”.
While at Ondo state governor’s office earlier in the day, the Minister used the visit to appeal to the government of Ondo State to co-operate with the Federal Controllers posted to the state because Federal Government realized that for Nigerians to fully feel the impact of government in terms of infrastructural development, there must be collaboration between the Federal and State governments, therefore, it must be noted that Federal Government is not in a game of rivalry with any state governments.
He solicited for endurable co-operation between the state government and Federal Controllers in the state; saying that “this is necessary because development anchors on peaceful co-existence among the key actors in the system.” He concluded by saying that the Controllers in the state would be held responsible should there be any deplorable condition of Federal projects within the purview of the areas of their assignments.
Fashola who was in Ondo State en-route Ekiti State said that help is on the way with the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari as far as road infrastructure development is concerned; saying that “the President is committed to refund all money spent by the state governments on federal roads.”
While responding, the governor appreciated the Minister’s visit, saying that it is a sign of many good things that await the new administration in the state. He appealed to the Minister on Owo-Akungba-Okene road and said “due to its strategic position of the road needed to be dualised as this is the only road connecting South West to Northern States from the Ondo axis.” He also called on the Minister to bailout some communities who have been experiencing total blackout for more than six months.Read More
* As Minister delivers President’s thank you message to young men, women at various construction sites in the North East
* Artisans, carpenters, bricklayers, welders, food vendors, suppliers hail Minister, Federal Government at Taraba, Gombe National Housing Project sites
* National Housing Programme currently going on in 33 States in the country
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN, has undertaken an extensive inspection tour of on-going infrastructure projects in the North East Zone saying the rapid progress being made on the projects and the employment opportunities created in the process were a manifestation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to achieve economic recovery and create jobs through housing, roads and general infrastructural development.
Fashola, who spoke in Taraba and other States in the course of the four days tour, told workers at the site of the State’s National Housing Programme that the whole idea behind the road and Housing development projects going on now across the country was to create jobs for the teeming unemployed youth, get those who had lost their jobs back to work and, thereby, energize the economy.
The Minister, who was received by the obviously excited workers with chanting of praise for the Federal Government as they waved and hailed him with their raised fists and working implements, assured Nigerians that the present administration was committed to empowering, especially, the vulnerable in the society such as the artisans, welders, bricklayers, carpenters, food vendors, suppliers of building materials and others.
As the Minister waved back and moved round the site of the National Housing Programme in Taraba State and engaged several of them in a chat, those who were working on the walls and other areas within the site gathered round to hear him even as he marched their excitement by posing such questions as when the worker was engaged, what he was doing before his engagement, whether he loved the job and the pay among others. An excited worker, Rilwan Adamu, who answered all the questions at the site of the National Housing Programme in Jalingo, Taraba State, praised the government for providing jobs for them.
Abubakar Umar also answered similar questions from the Minister at the site of the Housing Programme in Gombe State while an artisan, Jeremiah Barnabas, chatted with him at the site of the 40MW Hydro Power Plant in Dadin Kowa, Gombe State.
Thanking the workers on behalf of President Buhari, who, he told them, had asked him to greet them for contributing to the rebuilding and growth of their country, Fashola further encouraged them to be committed to their work as their contribution would help to put the nation’s economy back to shape and make the country prosperous for every Nigerian.
Addressing the workers, Fashola pointed out that the objective of the Federal Government was to get the youths back to work adding that the programme would energize the economy as artisans, carpenters, bricklayers, welders, food vendors, suppliers and many others engage in activities that put money in their pockets and food on their tables.
The Minister told them, “This is all what it is about; it takes care of the vulnerable members of our society. That is what Housing does; it energises the industry and it energizes employment. You will see trucks moving in and out, you will see bricklayers, you will see carpenters, you will see welders, you will see food vendors; and this is what we are igniting across the whole country”.
“That is why President Muhammadu Buhari said this year’s Budget is a Budget of Growth, getting people who have lost their jobs previously back to work, putting money in their pockets and restoring their dignity so that every morning they can tell their wives, they can tell their husbands ‘I am going to work’ ”, he said.
Earlier, the Federal Controller of Housing in the State, Mr Pius Eneji, who received and conducted the Minister round the site, had told the him that the site was on 16 hectares of land adding that the contractors were currently working on five hectares of the land.
He also told the Minister that there were a total of 76 units of houses in the site made up of four units of one bedroom semi-detached bungalows, 48 units of two bedroom semi-detached bungalows and 15 units of three bedroom semi-detached bungalows.
The Controller, who said the work on the site was delayed for some time because of some exigencies, informed the Minister that a total of 19 contractors were on the site and working pointed out that but for the delay, some of the houses would have gone beyond the levels that they were at the moment.
He said the number of workers that were engaged on a daily basis varies according to the volume of work at hand adding that when the building got to the stage of casting lintel, more workers would be required as well as at other stages of work as the buildings progress.
According to him, there is also a nine-man team sent from Abuja to monitor the project and the team was based in the State adding that his office has also deployed seven staff of the Ministry to complement the efforts of the Abuja team in order to ensure delivery of quality buildings for the people.
It could be observed at both the Gombe and Taraba sites that the buildings were at various stages of completion with some at the foundation level while others were already progressing towards the lintel level.
Earlier at the site of the road inspection which was the construction of the Jalingo-Kona-Lam-Karim-Lamido Road, inside the State Capital, Fashola thanked the Taraba State Government for taking responsibility for the road, the contractor handling the project, for the quality of work done and the Taraba State Commissioner for Works and Transport, Dr. Tafarki Eneme, for supervising the project to completion.
The Minister, who assured that the Federal Government would reimburse the State the money they spent on the road, however, pointed out that the road was now a Metropolitan Municipal road as it ran inside the centre of the city adding that it no longer qualified as a Federal Road.
According to the Minister, “This is now a Metropolitan Municipal road. It really does not qualify in the sense of a Federal Highway because our work as a Federal Government is to connect states together. But obviously when this road was designated as a Federal Highway most of these developments were not here; but you now see that it now has a pedestrian sidewalk and all of the amenities.
“So it has become a Municipal road and if you apply, I think the Federal Government will be inclined to hand it over to you for maintenance and management”, he said, assuring the State Government, however, that the handover or any such arrangement in the future was without prejudice to its right to be fully reimbursed whatever it had spent on the road.
On Saturday, the Minister also took time off on his way to Yobe State to inspect the National Housing Programme in Gombe State during which he reiterated that President Buhari was determined to make Housing and Infrastructure development generally the main plank of his administration’s Economic Recovery Plan.
The Federal Controller of Housing in the State, Tpl. Yalin Luka Barnabas who received and conducted the Minister round the housing project, told him that there were altogether 76 housing units made up of 1,2 and 3 bedroom semi-detached bungalows adding that there were altogether about 500 workers on daily basis.
The National Housing Programme is currently going on in 33 states of the country.Read More
ON GOING REINFORMENTMAINTENANCE WORKS ON THE OLD NIGER BRIDGE
On Going ReinformentMaintenance Works on the Old Niger Bridge
FASHOLA AT THE ASSOCIATION FOR CONSULTING ENGINEERING IN NIGERIA ACEN 2018 EXTRA ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING IN ABUJA
Hon Minister of Power Works Housing and Guest Speaker Mr Babatunde FasholaSANrightand President Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria Engr Charles Yele Akindayomi left during the 2018 Extra Ordinary General Meeting with the theme The Role of Engineering Consultants in the Implementation of the Presidential Executive Order 5 organized by theAssociation for Consulting Engineering in Nigeriaat the NAF Conference Centre SuitesAbuja on Thursday 5th July 2018