The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has disclosed that over 50,000 Nigerians are now engaged in 77 works and 50 housing construction sites across the country, while only 277 foreigners are working in the sites. According to Fashola, the figures are contained in the “Inception Report” the Ministry of Works, Power and Housing recently commissioned to “ascertain the number of foreigners employed on those sites and whether they have work permits for the work they are undertaking”.
Fashola disclosed this on Thursday in a speech titled: “Solid Infrastructural Backbone – A Catalyst for National and Sustainable Development,” which he delivered at Sheraton Hotels, Lagos during the 2018 Nigerian Infrastructure Development Awards Night and the unveiling of Nigerian Infrastructure Development Magazine.
Fashola, who won the NIDA 2018 “Icon of National Infrastructure Development” Award, was represented at the occasion by Engr. Funsho Adebiyi, Director of Highways, South West.
“The Ministry has now commissioned a more detailed audit of all sites and we await the results and findings,” he stated.
The Minister explained that “while Government welcomes foreigners and investors, we expect that like in all law abiding countries, foreigners can only work after obtaining work permit.”
He explained further that while Nigeria took loans from overseas to execute some projects, “we did not sign away the rights of Nigerians to benefits from such projects”.
The Chairman of the occasion, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, who commended the organizers of NIDA Awards, said in his speech that infrastructure development of Nigeria is very critical and an issue that should be of concern to all.
Durojaiye said: “No nation develops above the level of infrastructural resources available to her.”
He also called for vibrant private and public sector players to partner in driving infrastructural revolution in order to fast track development on the country.
He said: We need more public budget investments, foreign capital and creative funding avenues to achieve this goal speedily as we cannot afford to be observers.
“As an emerging economy with growing population, we have to take the need to improve on our various infrastructure very seriously.”
In his welcome remarks, the Chairman of NIDA and Managing Director of Prospers Strategy Limited, Lanre Alabi, said the issue of infrastructure is very vital to national development as the state of infrastructure is a key determinant to gauge the health of nation.
Alabi explained: “NIDA was established to honour corporate organisations, government agencies and individuals who have made huge and outstanding impact in the Nigerian infrastructural development sector over the years.”
He added that with the debut of the first Nigerian Infrastructural Development focused magazine, a public platform to raise the bar on infrastructural awareness has been created.
He said: “The publication offers a credible avenue for both the public and private sector players to share ideas and to imbibe best practices that have helped other economies on infrastructure development.”