GOODWILL MESSAGE BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF WORKS AND HOUSING, MR BABATUNDE FASHOLA, SAN AT THE PLENARY SESSION OF THE NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE SUMMIT ORGANISED BY THE NIGERIAN SOCIETY OF ENGINEERS ON THURSDAY 15TH JULY, 2021 AT NICON LUXURY HOTEL, ABUJA
I bring good tidings to the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) at this Plenary on National Infrastructure Summit.
I am enthused by the theme which is:- “Towards a Sustainable Infrastructure Development, Maintenance and Management in Nigeria.”
If this was a shooting competition, I would say that the NSE has hit the Bull’s Eye with the theme.
Infrastructure Development, Maintenance and Management lie at the core of the Buhari Administration’s strategy for growing the Nigerian economy, creating jobs and prosperity, and lifting people out of poverty.
The stock of infrastructure and the commitment to grow them is the real measure of a Nation’s desire for growth and prosperity.
A Nation cannot grow bigger than the capacity of its infrastructure and President Buhari’s commitment to infrastructure leaves no one in doubt about his desire to rapidly grow Nigeria’s economy.
The outline of that infrastructure development is made clear by the fact that the Ministry of Works and Housing is currently managing over 800 contracts for Roads and Bridges covering over 13,000 Kilometres of the 35,000 plus Kilometres of Federal Highways and Bridges.
In every state of Nigeria today there is either a Road project, a Bridge project or a Housing project or all combined under construction.
This is a critical driver for employment of professionals for design, surveys, and construction practitioners.
It also galvanizes other sectors like mining for gravel, sand, laterite, crushed stones to mention a few, while it drives the demand and supply of lubricants like diesel, and oils, as well as bitumen production and supply.
The transport sector is also driven by the need to ferry these inputs across distances from production sites to construction sites by thousands of Trucks employing drivers.
At the construction Sites, the urban poor earn their daily living from supply of skilled and unskilled labour by working the materials to finished products.
But this is only a small piece of the pie. Design, Construction and Governance account for only about 30% of Jobs in the Built Industry.
It is maintenance and operation that provides 70% of the sustainable jobs long after construction has ended.
This is why the Buhari Administration must take the credit for approving the first ever FGN Facility Management and Maintenance policy in March of 2019.
Implementation is now bearing fruits with 24 Federal Secretariats now fully rehabilitated and under a facility management contract.
Thirty-seven Bridges nationwide are now undergoing maintenance and repairs, some of which have been due for decades.
NSE’s plenary and the theme have therefore struck the right chord.
It would therefore be with bated breath that the Ministry of Works and Housing will await the outcome of today’s conversation on how to scale up and deepen what has already started.
In closing, I only wish to point one that a significant number of projects such as: the Lagos-Ibadan, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Abuja-Kano, Kano-Maiduguri, Enugu- Onitsha, Oyo-Ogbomosho, Ilorin-Jebba, Abeokuta-Ibadan, Calabar-Itu, Second Niger Bridge, Ikom Bridge, Loko-Oweto Bridge, Ibi Bridge and Bamenda – Mfun Bridge, Chanchangi Bridge, Bodo Bonny Bridge and many more, which were recommended for development in the 2013 National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan have now taken off, are progressing, nearing completion or have been completed.
The Buhari Government has now commenced the process of developing a new Infrastructure Master Plan up to 2030 and this has progressed significantly.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I have no doubt in my mind about the positive direction Nigeria’s economy is heading with these investments in Infrastructure.
They are the key to reduced journey times, to efficient and competitive productivity arising from the ease of doing business.
I therefore wish you a very engaging and productive deliberations.