The Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in a crucial meeting with select road Contractors has assured Nigerians of safe passage through major arterial roads during the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
The Minister, Babatunde Fashola, SAN in his remarks, stressed the need to inform the general public on what they should expect in the last month of the year in the various sections of Federal road undergoing re-construction and rehabilitation.
According to Fashola, “We owe a big responsibility to share information with members of the public as a Ministry and as contractors who operate under a Federation about what happens during the raining season to road construction, many people don’t know enough …”.
While acknowledging that raining season disrupts construction activities, the Minister implored the contractors to rise up to their responsibilities by collaborating with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) so as to inform the public of what happens when roads are not maintained during the raining season. He added that it is a universal phenomenon. In the same vein, he explained that the good side was that rainfall increases hydropower and agricultural productivity.
As a panacea to funding deficit and most importantly, due to dwindling prices of crude oil globally, the Federal Government has come up with the issuance of bonds, Sukuk, to finance 25 major road projects across the six geo-political zones to the tune of N100bn.
In his opening remarks, the Director Highways (Construction and Rehabilitation), Engr. Yemi Oguntominiyi explained that the contractors invited were the ones working on many road projects spread across the country. He said that the meeting was necessitated by the need to inform the public about the negative impact of the raining season on the roads and to make the roads motorable. He also expressed the need to know the level of employment being generated by the construction companies.
The Managing Director of Julius Berger (Nigeria) Plc, Mr. Walfgang Goetsch, while appreciating the Minister, said that the construction industry, unlike any other sector is the backbone of the economy of any nation. He emphasised that the sector provides employment and increases commercial activities.
The contractors took turns to update the Minister on their various projects. They also spoke about their achievements as well as challenges confronting them on site. Funding was generally identified as the main cause of delay in the delivery of road projects but they unanimously commended the President Mohammed Buhari’s Administration and the leadership of the Ministry for the release of funds as and at when due.
In attendance were the Minister of State II, Surv. Suleiman Hassan Zarma, mnis, the Permanent Secretary, Works and Housing sector, Alhaji Mohammed Bukar and Zonal Directors of Highways in the Ministry.
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Report By: PRNigeria.com