Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola has disclosed that the Federal Government under his ministry would soon Provide over 22,000 jobs for the people of Nigeria.
The minister disclosed this while presenting, Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI) designed to harness investment opportunities on the 35,000 federal highways to the National Assembly joint Committee on Works Members on Wednesday in Abuja.
According to Fashola, “the plan is expected to generate investments of N163.32 billion and provide over 22, 000 jobs in the first instance”
Stressed that the plan would attract sustainable investment and funding in the development of road infrastructure.
He said the initiative was hinged on private sector engagement, which was broken down into two categories, including Value Added Concession (VAC) and the Unbundled Assets Approval (UAA).
Fashola noted that “what the ministry sought to do was to bring more diverse capacities to managing road infrastructure. To maximise the use of assets along the right of way and also develop other highway furniture”
“The current administration is already involved in those areas: the tax credits, SUKUK and we are looking at many other options.”
He said that the plan, which would be private sector-driven, was expected to generate over 22, 000 jobs on the highways in its first phase of implementation.
He, however listed the 10 roads to be considered for concession in the first phase to include Benin-Asaba, Abuja-Lokoja, Kaduna-Kano, Onitsha-Owerri-Aba, Sagamu-Benin, Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga, Kano-Maiduguri, Lokoja-Benin, Enugu-Port Harcourt and Ilorin-Jebba.
The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Adamu Aliero, however, described the initiative by the ministry as a welcome development, saying it would certainly add value to the roads.
According to him, it will also ease funds for other critical sectors of the economy, particularly on education and health.
“What is required is the political will; the past administration had not done very well on this.
“Toll plazas were demolished overnight, not minding the fact that a lot of money was used in constructing them. By then, there was no legislation; strong legislation that will prohibit that kind of a thing”
“I can assure you that with the kind of support we have with the leadership of the National Assembly and the two committees, we will come up with a very strong legislation that will give legal backing to this. No administration will come and overturn it,” Aliero said.
Added that having such strong legislation is the only thing with which the government could convince the private sector to come and invest, said National Assembly and the executive will work together and come out with something that is workable.
“Otherwise, if you cannot provide protection to the investment of businessmen, they will not be willing to come”