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Economy, Featured

How FG Created 79,000 Direct Jobs In 3 Years

Records disclosed recently by the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing shows that through road contracts, over 79, 000 persons have been employed directly. ABAH ADAH writes

Nigeria’s high unemployment rate has been a source of concern for many years now, the more worrisome being that it has continued to be on the rise.

The high level of unemployment has created a bloated and unproductive informal sector, replete with millions of underemployed  persons, particularly youths.

Pursuant to its mantra of economic diversification aimed at broadening the economic space for the economy to boom even in the non-oil sector, the Buhari administration, in its first term, came up with an economic development scheme tagged “Economic Recovery and Growth Plan” (ERGP) in which wealth and job creation were primarily in focus.

Although it was intended that much of the wealth and jobs needed to boost the economy and reduce unemployment respectively would be achieved courtesy of agriculture and mines development, empowerment of micro finance banks, an encouragement of small-scale businesses,  infrastructure development was another key area targeted to boost economic activities and provide employment to the teeming unemployed population.

At least executing public works projects with direct labour will go a long way in helping to close the unemployment gap. These projects would provide employment, even if not permanent, for skilled and unskilled workers, and would afford those employed temporarily the opportunity of  gaining experience needed for permanent jobs. In addition, the targeted stimulus spending on productive and value-creating projects would spur growth, while also addressing inclusivity. In this, the Nigerian roads sector (Works) is not left out.

When the immediate past Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola presented to the public a sketch of the achievement of the Buhari-led government regarding road rehabilitation, construction and maintenance recently, he affirmed that  the government has been on its toes in a bid to deliver on its promises of revamping the country’s infrastructure as a gateway to sustainable socio-economic development.

When the ex-Minister assumed office in November, 2015, the lamentation was that the ministry inherited about 206 road projects across the country, most of which were abandoned by the contractors mainly for lack of fund, and in a few cases, insecurity, with the attendant loss of jobs by thousands who were engaged and earning their living from those contracts.

However, while presenting the scorecard of the 3 years (2016, 2017, and 2018), the Minister affirmed that contractors have since been mobilised back to the sites while thousands of jobs lost in the course of abandoning the projects have been recovered.

He explains: “We have recovered the thousands of jobs that were lost to  public works. “This recovery is the result of an expansive infrastructure spending that saw works budget grow from N18.132bn in 2015 to N394bn in 2018.

“The outcome is that there is not one state in Nigeria today where the Federal Government is not executing at least one road project and construction workers are engaged on these sites.

“Difficult or abandoned projects like the 2nd Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Bodo-Bonny Bridge have been brought back to life.

“Sections of Ilorin-Jebba, Sokoto to Jega, Sokoto-Ilela have been completed, while work progress continues nationwide from Jada to Mayo Belwa, Enugu to Port Harcourt, Lagos to Otta, Ikorodu to Shagamu, Benin to Okene, Lokoja to Abuja, Kano to Maiduguri, Abuja – Kaduna, Kano to mention a few.

“Apart from recovered construction jobs and growth in construction sector of the economy, the feedback from road users is that the journey times are reducing on the completed roads. This is what we promised in my inaugural address.

“We acknowledge that the work is not finished, but as long as we remain able to finance the projects, I have no doubt that it will get better.”

The intervention on roads, as made clear by the Minister, does not stop on interstate highways. It has also entered 14 Federal Universities, where unattended internal roads are now receiving attention.

The universities include: University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Federal University Oye, Ekiti; University of Benin; Federal University, Lafia; Fed University, Otuoke Bayelsa; Bayero University Kano; Federal University of Technology Owerri  (FUTO); University of Maiduguri; Federal University, Lokoja; Federal Polytechnic Bauchi; Federal University, Gashua; Kaduna Polytechnic; Federal College of Education Katsina; and University College Ibadan.

“This is the First Phase under the 2017 Budget and we are preparing to do more under the 2018 Budget,” the Minister noted.

He also stated that even as rehabilitation and reconstruction works were on-going, maintenance of existing roads and bridges was not left to suffer.

“As we build roads, we are also attending to old or damaged bridges and restoring the value of maintenance.

“So, while the Loko -Oweto Bridge is nearing completion, the damaged Tatabu Bridge linking Ilorin and Jebba has been reconstructed and the Tamburawa Bridge in Kano, the Isaac Boro Bridge in Rivers, Eko Bridge in Lagos and the Old Niger Bridge that links Anambra and Delta are receiving regular maintenance attention,” he said.

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In the course of the briefing, the ministry gave statistics of road projects for the three years. It said in 2016, 277 kilometres of road was constructed, 345km was rehabilitated and 17,749 people were employed in the process.

For 2017, the federal government constructed 488km of roads, rehabilitated 256km  and engaged 31,227 persons. For 2018 till November, 497km of road had been constructed, while 284km was rehabilitated and 30,402 persons employed. It therefore means that the work sector had given jobs to 79,378 within the years of 2016, 2017, and 2018.

While Fashola was giving account of the  progress in Works, Power and Housing earlier after one-year in office, he disclosed that as a result of paucity of funds, in their 3-year plan for roads across the country, priority was given to roads that allow farmers, businessmen, industries and travellers move their goods, support energy sufficiency and lead to and from the nation’s major sea and air ports.

He said, “Work has commenced on roads and bridges across the six geopolitical zones of the country, even as the Federal Government has developed a three-year plan and earmarked about N277 billion, subject to authorisation by Parliament over the period, to intervene in critical roads and 42 bridges that lead to and from major food producing states in the country.

Briefing the Press on the milestones already achieved and projections going forward in the sectors under his Ministry, Fashola said although the administration inherited 206 federal roads already awarded, with outstanding completion costs in the region of N1.5 Trillion, its share of the 2016 budget for Works was N260 billion adding, however, that although it was “a drop in the ocean against the outstanding liabilities to contractors”, it was a lot more than the 2015 budget of only N18 Billion provisioned in the budget of the last administration.

The Minister reiterated that due to insufficient funds, the roads had to be categorised according to priorities, listing the roads where contractors have been mobilized to include the Port Harcourt- Aba Road, where mobilization was delayed until Monday 31st October because of rains and the difficulty of establishing a works yard; Sokoto – Tambuwal – Makera-Kontagara Road where work is going on; Ilorin-Jebba Road; Loko-Oweto Bridge; Shagamu-Ibadan and Shagamu – Lagos ends of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

Fashola also listed other roads and the state they would pass through to include Ogbomosho-Oko-Ilogbo-Osogbo (Oyo-Osun States), Funtua-Katsina (Katsina State), Wukari-Akwana (Taraba State), Abriba–Arochukwu–Ohafia (Abia State), Abuja – Lokoja – Airport (FCT/Kogi State), Oji-Achi-Obeagu-Mmaku-Awgu-Ndeaboh-Mpu-Okpanku (Enugu State), Ajase Ipo – Offa – Erinle – Osun State Boundary (Kwara State) and Ikot Ekpene Border- Aba – Owerri Dualisation (Akwa Ibom/Abia and Imo States).

The Minister gave the basis for the categorisation to include roads that carried the heaviest cargo, “to allow farmers, businessman, industries and travellers move their goods and themselves across the country in order to drive productive activity”, roads that support energy sufficiency such as those leading to and from petroleum tank farms “in order to move petrol, diesel and kerosene across Nigeria”, and roads that lead to and from the nation’s major sea and airports “so that maritime business could go on, to drive the economy”.

Pointing out that the hard choice was also dictated by liabilities accruing from debts already owed from unpaid contracts that had already been executed, Fashola said many of the contractors were not paid for an average of two to three years before the new administration came in adding, “This explained the stoppage of works, by the contractors, the layoff of workers, and consequently poor condition of many roads”.

He said government also paid consultants who were now supervising the roads and who, he noted, were denied payment for two to three years, adding that this has helped to recover lost jobs, and put some money back in circulation, as part of a government strategy to build out of the current recession.

The Minister told the gathering of Senior Journalists, “As I said during our first briefing, our short-term objectives are to complete uncompleted road contracts, restore motorability back to as many roads as possible, improve journey times and reduce the cost of travel for commuters”, adding, “This has clearly started on the roads I have spoken about and the results will accrue as progress on the works improve over time and the roads are completed”.

He said his Ministry, in the medium to long term, intended to cover more roads based on available resources, adding that it would also increase maintenance capacity of road assets “to ensure that we do not neglect our highways again in the manner we have done over the years to our collective detriment”.

To achieve this goal, Fashola said the first step was to restore the authority of all the state controllers of works, to charge them to take responsibility for all federal roads within their states posting, and to bring up an annual budget that would be submitted to Parliament.

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“This will help us decentralise authority over road maintenance, vest responsibility on the people who can resurface damaged roads, clear over-grown vegetation, enforce axle-load compliance, install signs and lane marking and gradually restore our highways back to contemporary quality”, the Minister said.

On the three year plan, Fashola said roads also factored into the plan included those in the constituencies of members of Parliament and bad roads seen from the monthly reports of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) adding, however, that how far this could be achieved would depend on how much money the country could get, and how much government would get approval to spend.

Projecting for the future of the sector in 2017 and beyond, Fashola disclosed that the Ministry had developed proposals for the budget to intervene in critical roads in the six Geo-political zones that lead to and from major food producing states adding that the choices would be based on information supplied by the Ministry of Agriculture.

“We plan to do the same for states that produce minerals from mining activity, and for states where we have strategic fuel depots”, he said noting that because for decades, almost no attention was paid to bridges built across the country, erosion, stress, and in some cases failures and near collapse were becoming evident in some of the bridges such as in Kano (Tamburawa), Lagos (Ijora), Kogi (Lokoja) Ogun (Long bridge on Lagos-Ibadan) Kaduna (Jaji) and other places.

 

Presidency Lists Ongoing/Completed Road Projects In Buhari’s 1st Term Across The 36 States And FCT

Reacting to allegations that the Buhari government has not done well in infrastructure development as it claims, the Presidency recently listed all the ongoing and completed projects done across all the 36 states and the FCT which may have confirmed the ex-Minister’s claim that in every state of the federation and the FCT,  there was at least one road project going on. Here are the road projects included in the list, excluding other kinds of projects mentioned therein:

 

Abia State

Rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt Road Section 1, Umuahia-Aba Township Rail/Road bridge crossing;

Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Enugu-Port-Harcourt dual carriage way Section 1, Lokpanta-Umuahia Tower, Abia;

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along umuahia- Bende – Ohafia Road.

 

Adamawa State

Reconstruction off Yola Mubi Bridge at Kaa’a Shiwa and Mile 30- Kwambla Road;

Rehabilitation of Gombe-Numan-Yola road, phase 1; Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Ngurore Mayobelwa road.

 

Akwa Ibom State

Construction of Ididiep-Ekpeyong 10.125km asphalt pavement; Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Ete-Abak road.

 

Anambra State

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Nnewi – Ekwulobia – Umunze – Ibinta Road and the Niger Bridge;  Construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge.

 

Bayelsa State

Construction of Ogbia Nembe 25km road; Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Mbiama – Yenagoa Road.

 

Bauchi State

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Bauchi – Gombe Road;

Construction of Road in Boto Town, Tafawa Balewa LGA, Bauchi State.

 

Benue State

Construction of Loko-Oweto Bridge over River Benue in Nasarawa and Benue States; Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Makurdi – Nasarawa State Border Road;

 

Cross River State

Dualisation of Odukpani – Itu – Ikot Ekpene Road in Cross River 9.7 Km/ Akwa Ibom State with a spur to Ididep 12.2 Km;

Rehabilitation of Aleshi-Ugep Road, Iyamoyun-UgepSectionin Cross River State; Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Calabar – Oban – Ekang Road.

 

Delta State

Construction of 23.6km Asphalt Gbaregolor Ogulagha road with 2 bridges measuring 651m; Construction of Tebu-Gbokoda pavement road network for the Olero Creek indigenes covering about 6 communities; Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Amukpe – Eku – Abraka – Umutu – Agbo (Edo State Border).

 

Ebonyi State

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Afikpo – Okigwe Road.

 

Edo State

Auchi Poly-Ekperi-Uzea-Ohe with a spur to Fugar-Afuda-Usugbenun road Section 1 and a pedestrian bridge at Auchi poly gate; Construction of Ekpoma-Uhiele 31.1 km road in Esan West; Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Benin – Auchi – Okene Road. Construction of 46.5km Udo Ofunama asphaltic concrete road-7.3m wide.

 

Ekiti State

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Ado – Igede – Itawure – Osun State Border Road.

 

Enugu State

Rehabilitation of Enugu–Onitsha dual carriageway; Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Nsukka – Adani – Anambra State Border Road.

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Federal Capital Territory, Abuja

Murtala Muhammad and Umar Musa Yar’Adua express ways; The Circle Road that envelopes the Central Business District; The Nyanya-Gbagalape road;

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along kaduna road.

 

Imo State

Construction and Dualization of Port Harcourt/Owerri Road Junction;

Rehabilitation of Washed Away Internal Road and Rebuilding of Nwaorie Bridge at AlvanIkoku College of Education;

Construction of Isinweke Oriaha, Uboma Road: a 16km road awarded in 2012, and picked by the Buhari-led administration;

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Ihiala – Umuduru Road interchange at EzeudoAmaokpa and Zimuzo Roads.

Jigawa State

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Kano State Border – Garki – Gukel – M/Madori – Hadejia Road.

 

Kaduna State

Rehabilitation of Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Birnin-Gwari-Kaduna Road Section 1;

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Zaria – Pambegua.

 

Katsina State

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Katsina – Batsari – Safana Road;

Construction and construction of Daura Township Roads.

 

Kebbi State

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Kalgo – Bunza – Kamba – Peka Road.

 

Kogi State

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Okene – Ibillo Road.

 

Niger

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Kontagora – Tegina Road;

 

Lagos

Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Expansion of Lagos-Ibadan dual carriage way, Section 1, Lagos-Sagamu;

Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Expansion of Lagos-Ibadan dual carriage way. Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along 3rd Mainland Bridge (Oworo Toll Gate.

 

Ogun State

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Abeokuta – Sango Ota Dual Carriageway.

 

Plateau State

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Gimi Road.

 

Rivers State

Construction of KAA-ATABA Road and Bridges: Originally awarded in 2012, Kaa-Ataba road connecting to Andoni/Opobo LGA was picked up by President Muhammad Buhari’s administration;

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Ahoada – Okoku – Okwuzi Road.

 

Taraba State

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Jalingo – MutumBiyu – Wukari Road.

 

Nasarawa State

Completion of the Inner Southern Expressway (ISEX), which is the expressway providing rapid East-West movement to the southern flank of the city linking the Abuja-Keffi road;

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Lafia – Makurdi Road.

 

Kwara State

Rehabilitation of Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Birnin-Gwari-Kaduna Road Section 1;

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Ilorin – Ganmo – AjaseIpo, Road.

 

Oyo State

Dualisation of Oyo-Ogbomosho-Ilorin Oyo-Ogbomosho-Ilorin, Section II (OyoOgbomosho);

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Ogbomosho – Dogo – Igbetti Road;

Construction and rehabilitation of Iseyin – Okeho.

 

Ondo State

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Ore – Okitipupa Road.

 

Osun State

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Ibadan – Ife Dual Carriageway;

Construction and rehabilitation of Elentere Apipontoro Road.

 

Gombe State

Rehabilitation of Gombe-Numan-Yola road, phase 1; Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Gombe – Dukku – Darazo Road.

 

Kano State

Dualisation of Kano-Maiduguri road section iv, (Potiskum-Damaturu)

Dualisation of Kano-Katsina Road phase 1; Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along KwanarDumawa – KunyaBarubaJigawa State Border Road; Construction and Rehabilitation of Saminaka – Doguwa;

Construction and Rehabilitation of Doguwa – Tiga.

 

Sokoto State

Rehabilitation of Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega road-Kotangora/makera road in sokoto/Kebbi/Niger States; Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Kajiji – Jabo – Zamfara State Border.

Yobe State

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Damaturu – Dapchi – Bayamari Road.

 

Zamfara State

Patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along Gusau – TalataMarafa – Sokoto State Border Road.

In all these, labour must have been hired, hence the over 79, 000 said to be employed courtesy of road and bridge projects alone.

The multiplier effect is that even as others who were not directly employed may have availed themselves in one business or the other along the chain, many more may have been indirectly employed.

Source: Leadershipng

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