2017 Budget: Fashola Disowns N2bn

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has denied knowledge of the N2bn allocated to Regional Housing Scheme in the 2017 budget proposal of the ministry he oversees.

The minister, who appeared before the committee to defend the proposal, suhgested to the lawmakers to invite the Ministry of Finance for clarifications on the disputed item numbered FMOW99934089.

“I know as much of it as you do,” Fashola told members of the committee.

The minister pointed out that he had no explanation on the N2bn allocation as it was discovered in the proposal after it was worked upon by the Ministry of Finance.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Barnabas Gemade, requested that the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, be invited to explain the insertion of the allocation.

The following conversation ensued between Fashola and Gemade:

Gemade: Finally, what is this provision of N2bn for regional housing scheme? What is regional housing scheme? Where is it taking place? What is happening? Have you seen it on Page 18?

Fashola: It is not our project. It came in from, I think, the Budget (Office). It is a Ministry of Finance initiative; saying that they want to do what they called ‘family homes’. It is not from us.

Gemade: Yes, but they have put it here; otherwise, we will not be in the position to accept it.

Fashola: I know as much of it as you do sir.

Gemade: But you are here to defend this budget in totality.

Fashola: That is why I have come. I am explaining to you now, sir, on how it comes into our budget. That is not what we submitted. We didn’t submit that proposal.

Gemade: So, will the ministry be kind enough to tell the people who put this in this budget to come forward and let us know?

Fashola: Please.

Gemade: Let us know what is regional housing programme because government cannot be operated in secrecy.

Fashola: I think the committee, if you permit me to bring this suggestion…

Gemade: …should invite them?

Fashola: Yes, sir.

Gemade: But you know the people; we don’t know them.

Fashola: No, sir. We just said finance sir.

Gemade: Finance ministry?

Fashola: Yes sir.

Gemade: We will write to the minister.

Fashola: Please do sir.

Gemade: (Pointing to the committee’s secretariat) Write to the minister: We have seen this line, which costs N2bn. Let them send information here for us to know what it is all about.

FG To Add 1,459MW To Power Grid Through 20 Plants

The Federal Government plan additional 1459MW from 20 power plants to the national grid next year to bring power generation above 6,000Mw.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola, who stated this at the weekend, said despite the 3,000 megawatts (MW) lost to gas pipeline vandalism, power generation peaked at 4,010 MW as at November 5.
Fashola spoke at the weekend while giving account of his one year stewardship.
He said 37 federal universities and seven teaching hospitals would get 120 MW from 37 independent gas and solar power plants to begin the fulfilment of the constitutional requirement of rural electrification
“In addition to transmission, we are working to complete uncompleted power generation projects. Some of the projects that should start coming to conclusion in 2017 are the 215 MW Kaduna Power, 40 MW Kashimbilla Power (Hydro), 40 MW Gurara I Power (Hydro), 29 MW Dadin Kowa Power (Hydro), 10 MW Katsina Power (Wind) 1,125 MW (14 Solar projects) and the 240 MW Emergency Power Project for Afam (Gas).
“Egbin has restored all its turbines even though it has suffered a gas outage as a result of vandalisation. Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro have increased the number of functional turbines, so they are producing 300 MW extra power during this year’s rainy season, more than they did last year,” Fashola said.
He explained that the second anchor of the ministry’s Rural Electrification Implementation programme would involve the use of small hydro dams to support agriculture and agro processing by providing power.
The ministry, he added, had also done the audits and planning of all the schools in rural areas to benefit from the programme.
“All of these sources of power, with embedded power from Paras Energy 40 MW gas in Lagos, the expected completion of Azura power in Edo, expected gas supply to Ihorbor Gas power plant, Gegeru power, Olorunsogo, Omotosho, Gbarain and others make me hopeful that we can get incremental power,” Fashola said.
On roads, he said the federal government would fix 42 bridges across the country with N277 billion in three years, if the national assembly’s approval is secured.
The minister explained that although construction of houses had not begun, 27 states had already donated land for federal housing schemes and over 500 contracts were ready to be issued for work to begin.
The government, he added, inherited about 206 road projects already contracted out with outstanding completion costs of N1.5 trillion, while the works’ ministry’s share of the 2016 appropriation was N260 billion.
Fashola said: “Our interactions with contractors showed that many of them had not been paid for an average of two to three years before we resumed and this explained the stoppage of work by the contractors, the layoff of workers, and consequently poor condition of many roads.”
He stated that with limited resources and debts owed, the ministry had to choose which of the 206 roads were more urgent and more impactful than others.
“So, our choices were determined by roads that carried the heaviest cargo, to allow farmers, businessmen, industries and travellers move their goods and themselves across the country in order to drive productive activity.
“Secondly, we chose roads that support our energy sufficiency and put our resources in roads leading to and from petroleum tank farms so that we can move petro, diesel and kerosene across Nigeria.
“We also chose roads that led to and from our major sea and airports so that maritime business can go on, to drive the economy. Therefore, we re-mobilized contractors back to work on roads across the six geo-political zones,” Fashola said.
He listed the roads to include the Port Harcourt- Aba, Sokoto – Tambuwal – Makera-Kontagara, Ilorin-Jebba, Loko-Oweto Bridge, Shagamu- Ibadan, Shagamu – Lagos and the Ogbomosho-Oko-Ilogbo-Osogbo roads.
Others are the Funtua-Katsina , Wukari-Akwana , Abriba-Arochukwu – Ohafia, Abuja – Lokoja – Airport, Oji-Achi-Obeagu-Mmaku-Awgu-Ndeaboh-Mpu-Okpanku , Ajase Ipo-Offa- Erinle-Osun State boundary and Ikot Ekpene border- Aba-Owerri dualisation.
Fashola added: “We also paid consultants who are supervising these roads and had been denied payment for two to three years. This has helped to recover lost jobs, and put some money back in circulation.”
He said the authority of states controllers of works would be restored to so as to enhance maintenance of the roads “and gradually restore our highways to contemporary quality.”
The minister explained that next year’s budget would pay attention to roads that lead to and from major food producing states, those in states that produce minerals from mining activity or where there are strategic fuel depots.
For housing, he noted that simple designs of one, two and three-bedroom bungalows had been completed which reflect cultural, climatic and land use peculiarities of the northern and southern states.
“We have also identified inputs like doors, windows, tiles, paint, roofing materials that can be made locally and we have resolved to use only made in Nigeria inputs unless there is no local production capacity,” Fashola

Fashola Says No New Roads Till Existing Road Constructions Are Completed

The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has stated that his ministry will not award any new contract for the construction or rehabilitation of federal roads until existing ones are completed.
Mr. Fashola said past administrations in Nigeria awarded contracts for 206 roads at about N2 trillion naira, which were mostly unpaid for.
He was responding to questions from State House correspondents on Wednesday at the end of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council. He spoke on the terrible state of some roads within the Federal Capital and the reason his ministry appears to be more interested in the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Mr. Fashola said the roads went bad at a time when there were resources but the governments of the time refused to fix them.
“What we have done was first to say that we would not award any new road contract,” he said. “We would deal with the over 206 roads that have been awarded but not funded for over three years.”
Mr. Fashola also said because of the limited resources available to his ministry, road projects have to be prioritized.
Lagos-Ibadan Expressway
Lagos-Ibadan Expressway
He said the Lagos-Ibadan expressway is a very important road for the whole country and carries the heaviest traffic.
“Now the budget that we have for the three ministries that I superintend is in the region of N400 plus billion and over 200 billion is dedicated to roads across the country.

“So that is the deficit that we have to deal with and in making those choices we then have to deal not with roads that necessarily border us but roads that carry the heaviest traffic,” he said.
He said attention is being given to roads that have economic significance for the country such as routes for the evacuation of fuel and food produce going to the different parts of the country.
The minister also disclosed that the council approved the purchase of three transformers of 150 MVA to be installed in sub-stations of Shiroro in Niger, Osogbo in Osun and Kumbotso in Kano as requested by the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN.
Mr. Fashola, who did not mention the cost of the transformers, said the purpose of the purchase which overrides the cost implication is to “continue to reinforce, expand and maintain the existing transmission capacity so that as the progress of our incremental power initiative expands and achieves its purpose, transmission company is able to competently deliver the power.”

Assets Declarations: CCB To Probe Fashola, Amaechi, Others

The Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, has expressed its resolve to verify all assets declared by top serving and former public officers at the federal, state and local government levels.

A statement by the Chairman of the CCB, Mr. Sam Saba on Thursday, said all officials concerned are expected to appear physically before the commission for the verification.

He stated that by virtue of Paragraph 11 of Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as amended), “every public officer is required to submit to the Code of Conduct Bureau a written declaration of all properties, assets and liabilities and those of his/her spouse (if not a public officer) and his unmarried children under the age of 18 years.”

He added that any statement in the declaration, found to be false by any authorities or persons authorised to verify it, “shall be deemed to be a breach of the code”.

Saba said, “To this end, the Bureau has commenced its 2016 4th Quarter Cycle of Conference and Field Verification of Assets of top public officers. Accordingly, letters of invitation have been dispatched to ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, service chiefs and other top public officers.

“All invited public officers are to note that failure to honour the invitation by the CCB in this regard is a breach of the provisions of the constitution and could lead to prosecution at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

“Public officers not yet invited are to await their letters of invitation.”

He listed 76 public officers that had been invited by the bureau, with a threat of the possibility of prosecution if they failed to honour the invitation.

Among the 76 invitees are 30 ministers who, according to the bureau, are yet to present themselves for the exercise.

The bureau identified ministers who have not yet submitted themselves for the verification to include: Rotimi Amaechi (Transportation); Babatunde Fashola (Power, Works and Housing); Ibe Kachikwu (Petroleum Resources (State); Abubakar Malami (Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice); Adebayo Shittu (Communications); Dr. Kayode Fayemi (Solid Minerals and Steel Development); Audu Ogbeh (Agriculture and Rural Development).

Others include: Senator Aisha Alhassan (Women Affairs and Social Development); Solomon Dalung (Youths & Sports Development); Osagie Ehanire (Health (State)); Usani Usani (Niger Delta Affairs); Prof. Anthony Anwukah (Education (State)); Lai Mohammed (Information and Culture), and Gen. Ali Mansur (retd.) (Defence).

The list also includes: Senator Udo Udoma (Budget and National Planning); Ibrahim Jibril (Environment (State)); Suleiman Adamu (Water Resources and Rural Development); Mustapha Shehuri (Power (State)); Prof. Claudius Daramola (Niger Delta Affairs (State)) and Kemi Adeosun (Finance) as those who have not submitted themselves for verification.

The rest are Prof. Isaac Adewole (Health); Okechukwu Enelamah (Trade, Investment and Industry); Geoffrey Onyema (Foreign Affairs ); Muhammadu Bello (Federal Capital Territory); Senator Hadi Sirika (Aviation (State)); Hajiya Khadija Bukar (Foreign Affairs (State)); Senator Chris Ngige (Labour and Employment); Heineken Lokpobiri (Agriculture and Rural Development (State)); Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu (Science and Technology); and Abubakar Bwari (Solid Minerals (State)).

The rest of the public officers still expected to submit themselves to the bureau are the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele; Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Oyo-Ita Ekanem; Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olanishakin; Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Abubakar Sadique; and the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibas Ibok.

Also on the list are the immediate past Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase; Chairman, Police Service Commission, Chief Mike Okiro; Controller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Babandede Mohammed; Executive Secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Waziri Adio; Director-General of National Pension Commission, Mrs. Chinelo Amazu; and Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Export Promotion Council, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo.

Also yet to turn up for the CCB verification are the Director-General, National Youth Service Corps, Brig.-Gen. Sule Kazaure; Executive Secretary, Nigeria Sao-Tome & Principle Joint Development Authority, Kashim Tumash; Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru; Controller-General of Federal Fire Service, Anebi Garba; Director-General, Budget and National Planning, Mr. Ben Akabueze, and Managing Director, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Commission, Ibrahim Umaru.

Others include the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Adamu; Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Mrs. Hadiza Usman; Managing Director, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, Ahmed Kuru, and Controller-General of MSCDS, Muhammad Abdullahi.

The Deputy Inspectors-General of Police, who are on the list, are Ntom Chukwu, Folusho Adebanjo, Emmanuel Inyang, Maigari Dikko, Joshak Habila, Shuaibu Gambo, and Hyacinth Dagala.

An Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Abdul Bube, is also on the list.

Military officers, whose names appear on the list, are Real Admiral Joseph Osa (Commandant, Operation Delta Safe) and Major General M. A. Koleoso (GOC Tradoc).

The CCB also listed a number of Federal Commissioners of the Civil Service Commission and three Group Executive Directors of the NNPC, who are yet to submit themselves to the CCB’s verification.

In the statement, the CCB stated that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, and five other ministers, among 15 other former and serving public officers, had submitted themselves to the asset verification.

Buratai was recently accused of having choice $1.5m properties in Dubai, but was cleared by the army.

“The Chief of Army Staff was the first to be issued his certificate. We started issuing to others last week,” the CCB Chairman said.

The five cleared ministers are Abdulrahman Dambazau (Interior); Zainab Shamsuna (Budget & National Planning); Adamu Adamu (Education); Aisha Abubakar (Minister of Trade, Investment & Industry (State)); and Amina Mohammed (Minister of Environment).

The rest of the former and serving public officers already cleared by the CCB are the immediate past Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim; Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood; a former Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Julius Okojie, and a former Controller-General, Nigerian Prisons Service, Ezenwa Peter.

They also include the Acting MD/CEO, Niger Delta Development Commission, Semenitari Tamunoibim; Controller-General, Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Ibrahim Ali (retd.); Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris; Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Boboye Oyeyemi; and Federal Commissioner, Civil Service Commission, Hope Ikrirko.

Fashola Dispels Talks Of Nationwide Power Shutdown

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has faulted the recent statement by the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Egbin Power Plc, Mr. Dallas Peavey Jr, that the country’s power woes may worsen in the days.
Peavey Jr had said the nation may experience total blackout due to liquidity and gas supply issues, threatening that owners of the plant might be forced to consider shutting it down if the challenges remained unresolved.

However, Fashola described the statement as “inflammatory and insensitive to Nigeria’s national security.”

The minister made this known at the opening ceremony of the Power Nigeria Agenda 2016, yesterday in Lagos.

Dispelling the remarks, Fashola said: “The statement is inflammatory and it was insensitive to our national security.”

Speaking further, he said: “If the commentator was not introspective, he would mention that the debts were not incurred by this administration, and that debt and settlement are continuous events in the power value chain, bills are served, claims are made, they are verified and settled.

“Also, he would have spoken about approval and payment that have been made this year. It is a continuous verification for claims and settlement of debts.

“All of the debts that are owed and legitimately contracted, verified will be paid. There is a clear policy decision in that area, but it requires all operators, those who claim and those who have to pay to operate in a transparent manner. We will not pay debt that are not properly verified and accounted for.”

He, however, refuted claims that the grid was very fragile and cannot support 1300MW not to talk of 5000MW.

He said the grid currently had the capacity to support 5300MW which is expanding on a daily basis.

“We are synchronizing with the Generating Companies and the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) in order to ensure the service end that connects both, which is the Transmission Company of Nigeria is able to respond adequately on demand.

“These are some of the serious issues that we take up at our monthly power meeting. Our next meeting will hold in Sokoto,” the Minister said.

Just recently, the minister ordered electricity Distribution companies (Discos) to stop customers from buying transformers.

Buhari Inherited N1.5tn Debt On Road Contracts – Fashola

The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari inherited road contractual liabilities worth N1.5tn, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said.

Fashola said this in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday by his Special Adviser, Communications, Mr. Hakeem Bello.

The minister said the ministry inherited 206 roads that were not budgeted for or poorly funded, but added that it had now developed a road map consisting of identifying and prioritising heavy traffic bearing roads for conveying essential goods and services across the country.

He said, “We have to build roads that evacuate our sea and airports; roads that drive our energy for now; roads that go to the tank farms to evacuate fuel from the South to the North; and roads that sustain us, that is roads that bring in our feed stock, cattle and vegetables and livestock from the North down to the South.

“And that is why you see us building from Lagos to Ibadan, to Ilorin, to Jebba to link all the way to Kaduna and Kano, and go on up North. And we are doing the same thing trying to connect River Benue through the Loko-Oweto Bridge and the Second Niger Bridge; Kano-Kaduna, and Kano-Maiduguri. Those are the choices we have made because this is a period of hard choices, trying to do more with less.”

Fashola added, “Those are the choices that we have made; they are not esoteric choices, they are simple and rational choices. All the roads we are working on had been awarded before I got into office by the previous administration – over 206 roads. You don’t have resources to build 206 roads; so, where you put your limited resources is in those areas.

“The total outstanding contractual liabilities are in the region of N1.5tn and this administration is taking them in batches, starting from the critical heavy traffic highways that evacuate goods from ports, fuel from tank farms and move foodstuffs and agro-produce across the country.”

The minister also said Nigeria lost more than 3,000 megawatts of electricity to the activities of vandals in the last six months.

Fashola said this in a presentation titled, ‘Leadership and the Politics of Reforms in Africa: Lessons from Nigeria’ at the Wilson Centre, Washington DC, United States.

The minister added that electricity supply increased by 4,00MW in the last two weeks due to increase in the generating capacity of the hydropower plants occasioned by the repair and maintenance carried out on them in the last one year.

He attributed the loss of over 3,000MW of power to consistent vandalism and sabotage of oil and gas pipelines and assets.

FG Have Paid Contractors N70bn For Loko-Oweto Road, Others – Fashola

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babtatunde Fashola has disclosed that the federal government has paid road contractors the sum of N70billion in fulfilment of promise to offset the huge debt owed road contractors.

Fashola noted that N70bn had been paid to contractors out of the N102bn released to his ministry.

He made this disclosure while speaking on the theme, ‘Towards Effective Implementation of the 2016 Budget’ at the Town Hall Meeting/Policy Dialogue for Good Governance at the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre in Abuja Thursday.

According to the Minister, “Work has resumed at Kano-Katsina road, Port-Harcourt-Enugu road, Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Loko-Oweto Bridge, and this has invariably led to economic improvement in the communities around those sites.”

He said that his ministry had over 200 on-going road projects, totaling over N2trn and that the N19bn released from the 2015 Budget was grossly inadequate.

According to the Minister, “41 Construction Companies including some consultancy firms have been slated for payment this quarter. The Ministry cannot accommodate all the contractors due to insufficient funds being expected from the Federal Government. The priority of the Ministry is to finish as many on-going road projects as possible.”

On the amount allocated to the Ministry this quarter, Fashola said that N79bn is earmarked for road projects, N24bn for power, and about N5bn for housing, totaling N108bn.

The highlight of major projects in the 2016 Budget for the Ministries on road and bridges are over 40 projects spread across the geo-political zones, including: N13 billion for Dualization of Kano-Maiduguri road (Sections I-V); N8.7 billion Reconstruction and Pavement strengthening of sections of Benin-Sagamu expressway; N14.2 billion for the Construction of Oju/Loko Oweto Bridge to link Loko and Oweto with approach Roads and Oshegbudu-Oweto road; N13 billion for Concession of 2nd Niger Bridge and N6 billion for Dualisation of Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Road in Cross River and Akwa Ibom States

The others include: N4.8 billion for Rehabilitation of Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Bokani road; N8.8 billion for Rehabilitation of Sokoto-Tabuwal Kotangora-Makira Road; N40 billion for Lagos – Ibadan road (Section I); N2.8 billion for completion of Gombe-Numan-Yola road phase II; N5 billion for the Rehabilitation of Apapa-Oshodi-Oworoshoki Road; N2.6 billion for Dualization of Kano-Katsina road phase I; N6 billion for Dualisation of Ibadan-Ilorin Section II; N5.5 billion for Rehabilitation of Enugu-Onitsha Road and N2 billion for Dualization of Sapele-Agbor-Ewu Road (Section I).

Nigeria In Recession Due To Mismanagement Of Economy Under Jonathan – Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has said Nigeria’s current slide into an economic recession was not the making of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, but as a result of five years of reckless fiscal policy, from 2010 to 2015.

Fashola said yesterday in London that the government within that period prepared budgets that were inadequate and unable to expand Nigeria’s deficient infrastructure. He also said the budget even with its inadequacies, concentrated larger funds on recurrent expenditure and less on capital projects.

He stated these when he spoke at a forum organised by the Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NIAF) at the headquarters of Adam Smith International in London, the United Kingdom.

The minister however gave assurances that the government of Buhari knew what was wrong and how to solve it. He noted that the government has designed proper solutions which include fiscal stimulus and capital spending to reposition the economy of the country and get it out of recession.

He said for three years contractors in his ministry were owed monies for jobs given to them, adding that these were seeds of recession planted and nurtured by the government that ran the affairs of Nigeria between 2013 and 2014.

“Today, we face challenging economic times. The commodities boom is gone. We have suffered consecutive negative growth and are economically experiencing a recession.
“The reason is simple. It is not what the Buhari administration has done, it is a result of the profligate fiscal policy between 2010 and 2015, when we not only under-budgeted (N4 trillion) in the face of deficient infrastructure, we also compounded it by providing 15 per cent for capital expenditure, which was under-funded and 85 per cent for recurrent, which we adequately funded,” said Fashola.

He said if the country had made good choices with its past fiscal policy, especially expanding her infrastructure base, it perhaps would not have gotten into economic recession.

According to him: “If infrastructure drives growth as we have experienced from the great depression to the ­­­Marshall plan, and lately fiscal stimulus in recent years, our current economic recession is the result of yesterday’s policies and choices especially during 2010- 2015.

“Sometime in March 2015, a little over a year ago, before the Buhari government, a snap survey of four construction companies which I constructed revealed that they had laid off 5,150 workers because government was not paying these construction companies for work done.

“Since my assumption of office, in the ministry of power, works and housing, meetings with contractors in power, works and housing reveal that contractors have been owed 2 to 3 years. These are the seeds of recession, planted and nurtured between 2013 and 2014.

“The Buhari government knows the cause, and has designed the proper solution: fiscal stimulus and capital spending,” he added. The minister stated that the country will recover from the recession and Buhari’s government will deliver new infrastructure and upgrade aging ones. He equally explained that the government’s budget has increased from an average of N4 trillion to an ambitious N6 trillion with a 30 per cent allocation to capital expenditure.

Fashola said the budget has since its passage also responded to the needs of the country with 70 construction companies who are owed monies getting paid N63.169 billion for quarter one (Q1) in the works sector alone.

“The response is that in the last few weeks since budget was passed, construction companies that had demobilised from their sites and laid off workers due to lack of payment since 2014, are re-mobilising to rail, road, power and other construction sites, and re-calling workers.

“These are the first signs of productivity; they signal a clear pathway out of recession, and although results take time to manifest, Nigeria has chosen an appropriate pathway out of economic difficulty,” he added.

He urged Britain to consider renewing and upgrading its business partnership with Nigeria in the aftermath of its decision to exit the European Union. According to him, Nigeria offered it an opportunity with its huge market and evolution from a colony to a sovereign country.

Works, Power Contractors Owed For Three Years – FG

Most contractors who have been working for the Federal Government in the power and works sectors are being owed for an average of three years, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said.

Fashola said this at a press conference hosted by Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Abuja on Thursday as part of activities to mark the first year anniversary of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The press conference was also addressed by the ministers of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige; Trade and Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah; and Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Mohammed Bello.

Fashola also said that roads to be constructed by the present administration would be tied to specific purposes, while standardisation would be the first goal in the housing subsector.

He said, “If we had paid the contractors, we probably wouldn’t have the kind of roads we have today. In my meeting with contractors in power and in works over the last 10 days, the common trend is that they have not received payment for an average of three years.

“So, that is the gap. But this country has been running budgets year-on-year. So, what did we do with the budgets? What did we do with the money?

“The gain we have made now in terms of security provides an opportunity for us to replace bomb makers with brick builders; to replace the bombings with buildings; and to get development back on track. That is one big step towards rebuilding the economy. Some contractors folded up because they had lost personnel.”

The minister added, “As far as power is concerned, our road map is to get incremental power first; move from there to steady power supply; and move from there to uninterrupted power.

“As far as works, and particularly roads, are concerned, what we have to first achieve is connectivity of the roads. Not all our roads are bad. If we repair stretches of roads with failed portions, you will re-establish connectivity. That is the first thing we want to achieve.”

Budget Delaying Road Infrastructure – Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN on Monday explained that bad across the country can only be fixed when the 2016 Budget is passed.

Fashola, who made this known at a town hall meeting in Lagos, said the delay in signing the budget was affecting plans to repair dilapidated roads across the country.

He said, “There’s a plan to deal with the road challenge, but unfortunately as I speak, there is no budget.

“Those of us that are tuned to public service will understand that budget is the article of faith, without appropriation, you can’t spend money.”

Fashola further stated that Nigeria lacks enough electricity supply to go round its 170 million population, assuring however that efforts were being made to deliver sustainable power.

According to him, “I will summarise the power issue simply in one word; there is no enough power. Five thousand MW for 170 million people is just not enough. The solution is delivering more power on an incremental and sustained basis.

“As far as roads are concerned, especially for road workers, road transporters and the unions, it is ultimately an index of doing business. The cost of transportation affects how cheaply or expensive food reaches the table, how efficiently services are delivered.

“If you just throw back a little bit, this country earned $100 per barrel of crude oil for a decade; other countries earned that kind of money. Are we as competitive as they were, or as they have become? Clearly, we have not spent our money wisely.

“Otherwise, we shouldn’t have broken roads, otherwise, we should have more power,” the Minister stated.

FG Signs Deal On Electricity Facilities Upgrade With Japan

The Federal Government yesterday sealed a pact of $11m (N2.17bn) with the Japanese Government for an emergency improvement of electricity supply facilities in Abuja.

The project to be implemented by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency and the Ministry of Power is aimed at procuring and installing power capacitor banks at the existing two sub-stations in Abuja and neighboring Nasarawa state.

This, according to the agreement, would decrease the transmission loss and assist in stabilizing power supply to approximately 7,000 households within the Federal Capital Territory.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, signed the pact on behalf of the Federal Government while the Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria Sadanobu Kusaoke, signed on behalf of his country.

Speaking at the event, Udoma said the pact marks the process for effective implementation of the electricity supply facilities grant project by the Japanese government.

He noted that the project has been designed to support Nigeria in promoting social-economic and infrastructural development.