Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Monday said the Nigerian government has delivered visible results and recorded progress across different sectors of the nation, including housing, road construction and electricity provision.
Mr Fashola made this known while delivering the third year progress report speech at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, in Abuja.
Details of his speech were contained in a statement sent by the minister’s office to PREMIUM TIMES.
The minister said shortly after his inauguration as minister of the tripartite ministries of works, housing and power in 2015, he explained what he and his team inherited, what he planned to do, and what members of the public should expect from him.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of my colleagues, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri and Surveyor Suleiman Hassan Zarma, the Honourable Ministers of State who manage this ministry with me, the Permanent Secretaries; Mohammed Bukar for Works and Housing; Louis Edozien, for Power, the Directors and all the staff of the ministry, the heads of our various parastatals and their staff, I am proud and happy to report that we have walked our talk, and we have delivered visible results and recorded qualitative progress,” he said.
With regard to power, the minister said his team has improved on what they met on ground by increasing generation from 4000 MW to 7000 MW, transmission from 5000 MW to 7000 MW and distribution from 2690 MW to 5,222 MW.
Mr Fashola said: “Although there are still people we have not reached, although there are still disruptions from time to time, and although there are still people who also need meters, and we are working to reach them, it is indisputable that we have delivered on incremental power.
“The evidence of our progress is not only captured in the last quarter of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Report for Q2 of 2018 which shows a growth of 7.5% in the electricity sector, previous quarterly reports from 2017, have consistently recorded growth, a clear departure from 2014-2015 and proof of change.
“As I promised you in my inaugural address, it will not just be electricity by numbers, it will be borne out by personal experiences. The report of our survey and feedback mechanism confirm that many of you now have public power for longer hours compared to 2015, and you now run generators for shorter periods compared to 2015 and you now spend less money on diesel to power your generators.
“As some Citizens recently reported, they no longer have to iron all their clothes one week in advance as they previously used to do, because the supply is proving reliable and predictable even if not yet fully Stable and uninterrupted. This is progress that we must move forward by consolidating on our mandate of change. We cannot go back. As our policies on Mini Grids, Meter Asset Provider, Eligible Customer, and liquidity sustenance and improved governance deepens, your experience with power supply can only get better.”
On public works relating to roads and bridges, the former Lagos governor said reports confirm that the he and his team have fulfilled their promise.
“We have recovered the thousands of jobs that were lost to public works,” he said, adding that the recovery is the result of an expansive infrastructure spending that saw works budget grow from N18.132b in 2015 to N394b in 2018.
“The outcome is that there is not one state in Nigeria today where the Federal Government is not executing at least one road project and construction workers are engaged on these sites,” the minister claimed.
“Difficult or abandoned projects like the 2nd Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Bodo-Bonny Bridge have been brought back to life.”
He added that sections of Ilorin-Jebba, Sokoto to Jega, Sokoto-Ilela have been completed, while progress of works continues nationwide from Jada to Mayo Belwa, Enugu to Port Harcourt, Lagos to Otta, Ikorodu to Shagamu, Benin to Okene, Lokoja to Abuja, Kano to Maiduguri, Abuja – Kaduna, Kano, among others. He cited instances of positive feedbacks received from users of the roads.
“We acknowledge that the work is not finished, but as long as we remain able to finance the projects, I have no doubt that it will get better,” he said.
The government’s intervention on roads does not stop on interstate highways, Mr Fashola explained, adding that it has also entered 14 higher institutions of learning. He listed the schools to include University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Federal University Oye, Ekiti; University of Benin; Federal University, Lafia; and Fed. University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State. Others are Bayero University Kano; Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO); University of Maiduguri; Federal University, Lokoja; Federal Polytechnic Bauchi; Federal University, Gashua; Kaduna Polytechnic; Federal College of Education Katsina; University College Ibadan.
“It is important to highlight this intervention and the 9 (Nine) Indepedent Power projects in Federal Universities as an investment in Education for the benefit of those who seek more funding for education,” he said.
“As we build roads, we are also attending to old or damaged bridges and restoring the value of maintenance.
“So, while the Loko -Oweto Bridge is nearing completion, the damaged Tatabu Bridge linking Ilorin and Jebba has been reconstructed and the Tamburawa Bridge in Kano, the Isaac Boro Bridge in Rivers, Eko Bridge in Lagos and the Old Niger Bridge that links Anambra and Delta are receiving regular maintenance attention.”
In housing, the minister said the government has worked on public buildings like Federal Secretariats in Zamfara, Bayelsa, Nasarawa and Ekiti where public works are being undertaken, and the Zik Mausoleum in Onitsha which has now been completed. He added that he ministry’s pilot National Housing Programme has led to a nationwide Housing Construction being undertaken in the 34 states where it received land.
“No less than 1,000 people are employed on each site apart from the staff of the successful contractors,” he said. “These sites are an ecosystem of human enterprise, where artisans, vendors, suppliers and craftsmen converge to partake of opportunities and contribute to nation building. These are some of the most vulnerable people for whom President Buhari has delivered.”
The minister explained that while policies like the reduction of equity contribution from 5 to 0 percent for those seeking mortgage loans of up to N5million and reduction from 15 to 10 percent for those seeking loans over N5 million are helping to ease access to housing, the ministry is also tackling the backlog of issuance of consent and Certificates of Occupancy to Federal Government land.
He also listed other measures put in place by the ministry to make life easier for Nigerians during the festive period.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we came to this job in November 2015 with a mountain to climb,” Mr Fashola said.
“With careful thinking, planning, and a dedicated team of public officers, we have a firm foothold on our way to the top. Our policies have shown what is possible with critical sectors recording growth.
“What remains is time that it takes for the full harvest of the fruits of our policies in plenitude and prosperity of our people. We cannot go back to the bottom of the mountain when the plateau is now within reach.”