The federal government has issued about 1, 417 consents to land transactions and 2, 400 Certificates of Occupancy (CofO) as at April 13,2019, to beneficiaries that paid for properties but failed to obtain the title since 1990s. The minister of power, works & housing, Babatunde Fashola , who disclosed this in Abuja while presenting the ministry’s three-year report, titled:’Proof of Infrastructure Delivery Across Nigeria’.
He stated that the ministry was committed to delivering quality services, saying that one of its priorities would be the aggressive implementation of the National Infrastructure Maintenance Programme (NIMP) recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC). Fashola noted that the ministry would commence the pilot phase of the implementation with public buildings especially its offices and secretariats in Abuja and other parts of the country.
According to him, “By repairing toilets, fixing broken doors and items of furniture, replacing electrical fittings, painting buildings and undertaking general repair, we will deliberately be creating jobs for people at the bottom of the pyramid such as masons, carpenters, plumbers, welders, painters and other artisans.” The minister pointed out that one of its core mandate is the maintenance of federal trunk roads as prescribed by the constitution.
Fashola hinted that when a road is identified for construction, that it must be surveyed by land surveyors to identify the right of way, while the soil tests would be conducted to determine what is under before commissioning the design. He added that landowners must be enumerated for compensation of crops and buildings that would be removed and paid for, including existing utility assets like electric poles and installations as well as petroleum and water pipes.
These he said, are capital intensive in addition to the cost of materials like sand, laterite, cement, labour, iron rod, lubricants and asphalt that would be used to build the road. The minister noted that upon the determination of the cost from design and allied costs, it would form part of the budget that would be presented to President Muhammadu Buhari every year.
He added, “When the budget is passed and the cost is approved, then we will follow procurement process which includes advertising, evaluating tender and submission to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to get a Certificate of No Objection.” The minister said that before implementing any contract that exceeded N500 million, that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) must grant approval to award the contract.
Fashola pleaded with the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government to urgently forge a national consensus on how to overcome some of the challenges encountered in the delivery of national infrastructure. While emphasising that Federal Housing Authority (FHA) was back to its core mandate of building houses, he pointed out Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) was more focused on lending to contributors to the National Housing Fund (NHF).
Fashola said he promised to develop a model National Housing Programme (NHP) at the beginning of his tenure , to ascertain what would be acceptable and affordable to Nigerians, adding that the housing sector has created economic opportunities, with construction going on in 34 states under the NHP.
He stated that the ministry was in the administrative state of setting better conditions for eligibility and offer to the public, while simultaneously planning a second phase of the programme in the states that donated land. On the power sector, the minister pointed out that he promised to change the paltry N5 billion budgeted in 2015, saying that he was committed to the delivery of incremental power as its short-term objective.
“For Works, I promised that we will increase the paltry budget of N19 billion, and use the same to revive abandoned road projects, restore construction activities, recover lost construction jobs and reduce journey times on our federal roads,” he added.
He stated that the task ahead was to solve the outstanding issues of estimated billing, supply of meters, add more power and supply of steady power its medium-term goal. Fashola asserted that there was at least one federal road under construction in each of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), adding that while some had been completed,others were still under construction. The minister maintained that the volumes and quantities of bitumen and asphalt sold in the country increased compared to 2015, due to massive road projects across the states.
By CHIKA OKEKE