Politics Society

Fashola Unveils New Plans As Minister For Power, Works And Housing

The Minister of Power, Works and
Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, unveils his plans, says the Federal Government would re-introduce highway tolling to raise additional funds to finance road infrastructure and ensure efficient road maintenance.
Fashola said this on Tuesday in Abuja
during his first news conference tagged
“Setting the Agenda for Delivering
Change”.

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He said that adequate funding of the
nation’s road infrastructure would
generate job opportunities and reduce
unemployment in the country.
“Maintenance would be our watchword.
We are setting up a robust maintenance
regime to keep our highways in good
shape.

“This shows that tolling is necessary to
support government funding. So, it will
not be too much if we ask every road
user to pay little to augment government
funding for road maintenance.
“It is eminent commonsense for us to
find that money. We will use technology;
so if we don’t pay cash, you will pay by
tokens or tickets and the money is
accountable and it will go to the right
place.
“We will manage that fund properly and
we will hold those who we put there to
account”

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He said that as a short-term strategy, the ministry would start with quick
completion of ongoing inter-state roads
in order to facilitate connectivity, before
working on those that bear heavy traffic.

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“We commit all our skills, energies, and
collective integrity unreservedly to
playing our part, but how much success
we deliver is dependent also on the
citizens’ commitment to their own part.’’
The minister observed that lack of
funding had caused many construction
companies to retrench their workers due to the huge debts owed them by the various tiers of government.
He said that with adequate budgetary
allocations, the three ministries have an
enormous role to play in repositioning
the economy and creating jobs.

“Clearly, good roads will help reposition
and grow our economy, reduce travel
time, cost of transportation of goods and services, and restore jobs that have been lost to transport-dependent services.

“Some of the numbers from only four
construction companies that were
sampled, suggest that at least 5,150
workers have been laid off as at March
11, 2015.

“If each contractor has only 100
employees at each of the 200 contract
sites, it means at least that 20,000 people who lost their jobs can return to work, if
the right budget is put in place and
funded for contractors to get paid.
“The possibility to return those who have just lost their jobs back to work is the kind of change that we expect to see by this short-term strategy.”

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Fashola further said that the ministry
would soon embark on enforcement of
the right of way by dismantling all illegal structures infringing on the highways.

He advised persons infringing on the
right of way to voluntarily dismantle the
inappropriate structures before the
government commenced the demolition of such structures.

“In order to make the roads safer, we
intend to re-claim the full width of all
Federal roads, representing 16 per cent
and about 36,000km of Nigeria’s road
network.

“We are immediately now asking all
those who are infringing on our
highways, whether by parking, trading,
or erection of any inappropriate
structure to immediately remove,
relocate or dismantle such things
voluntarily.
“This will be the biggest contribution
that citizens can offer our country as
proof that we all want things to change
for the better,” the minister said.

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