Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The Federal Government has not done enough in the area of maintenance of infrastructure across the country, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said.
Fashola stated this while receiving an award of recognition from the Association of Indigenous Construction Contractors of Nigeria as a result of the regular payment of the Federal Government’s contractors in the last one and a half years.
The minister, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Communications, Hakeem Bello, told his guests that another area where massive scope existed for partnership was in the maintenance sector, adding that the ministry was already working on setting up an infrastructure maintenance framework.
Fashola was quoted as saying, “Whatever we build is built to a design life, subject to certain types of maintenance, and that is an area that we haven’t really done enough.”
He said the ministry was working to develop a pilot maintenance framework, starting with government’s buildings.
“Hopefully, maybe in the 2019 budget, if we are lucky, we will be able to put a sizeable global maintenance budget for the first time and see how to engage labour and contracting companies to help grow the economy,” he explained.
The minister called for improvement within the framework of the indigenous construction companies, as he told his visitors that “you have to compete and you have to improve your capacity.”
In his remarks, the President, AICCON, Lekan Osifeso, commended Fashola for the regular payment of contractors, as he noted that the annual size of the construction industry in Nigeria was N1tn, while the contribution of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing was in excess of N200bn.
Osifeso, however, noted that unfortunately the bulk of the funds was lost to capital flight as a result of the non-patronage of local contractors over the years.
He said if indigenous contractors were adequately patronised and made to participate increasingly in the industry, capital flight cases would drop by as much as 60 per cent.
“Our mission is in line with Mr. President’s Executive Order 5 that clearly supports the participation of indigenous construction contractors by the government by way of commitment to patronage,” Osifeso was quoted as saying.