Isaac Anumihe and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has disclosed that the ministry’s expansive infrastructure spending has shot its budget from N18.132 billion in 2015 to N394 billion this year.
Giving his scorecard in Abuja, Fashola said that the outcome of this is that there is not one state in Nigeria where the Federal Government is not executing at least one road project and construction workers are engaged on the site.
To this extent, he said, the government has recovered the thousands of jobs that were lost to public works.
“Difficult or abandoned projects like the 2nd Niger Bridge have been brought back to life.
“Sections of Ilorin-Jebba, Sokoto to Jega, Sokoto-Illela have been completed while progress of works 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” he said.
Apart from recovered construction jobs and growth in construction sector of the economy, the Minister said, the feedback from road-users is that the journey times are reducing on the completed roads.
Besides, he said, the government’s policies to reduce equity contribution from 5 per cent to 0 per cent have helped to ease access to housing.
According to Fashola, a total of 1,216 application for consent to transfer interests in land application and 1,300 certificates of occupancy have been approved and signed respectively as at October 25, 2018.
“Some of these transactions started over a decade ago, those just getting certificates acquired their property years back but never got title”
Ahead of the Christmas period, he said, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has deployed personnel across the major transport corridors of the country during the period of heavy movement to help manage traffic.
Meanwhile the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara has said that the incessant face-off between the Ministry f Finance, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on the one hand and the state governments during the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings, is an indication of huge revenue leakages in the economy.
Dogara stated this yesterday, in Abuja, while declaring open, an investigative hearing organised by the House Ad-hoc Committee investigating the activities of Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs) and other institutions responsible for revenue remittances into the Federation Account.
The Speaker noted that economic growth and development in the country cannot be attained except all revenue leakages are blocked
According to him, “You may all recall that the Federation Account Allocation Committee meeting in July was stalemated, two or three times, due to controversies over unremitted revenue.
This led to delays in the payment of salaries by the Federal and State Governments and other budgetary expenditures in most Federal Government Agencies and Establishments.
“ The continuous face-offs with respect to revenue remittances and figures between the Ministry of Finance and NNPC on one hand as well as State Governments and revenue generating organs of the Federal Government on the other hand, only show some of the many instances of unending issues of revenue leakages in our economy.”
Dogara added that “with the dwindling oil fortunes, and the spirited efforts being made in the country to diversify our economic base, there is no gain saying the fact that closing up leakages in our system has become imperative if we must grow our economy and accelerate the development of the country at this period of economic downturn.
“At this period, when government is making efforts towards diversifying the economy in order to reduce the country’s over-reliance on the oil sector, it is disheartening to hear repeated allegations of non-remittances of huge amounts of revenue by Agencies required generating and managing our revenue. ”
He expressed optimism that the outcome of the investigative hearing would guide the House in coming up appropriate legislative actions that will avert under-remittances of revenue to the Federation Account.