The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has revealed that part of his ministry’s contributions to the fight against recession is to ensure prompt payments of contractors handling jobs for the federal government.
Speaking at the annual conference of the Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria in Abuja, he said the Federal Government is investing massively in road construction, public housing and other infrastructure as part of measures to take the country out of recession.
According to him, the ministry had released funds for the payment of debts owed contractors, noting that this had led to the return of most of them to project sites and resulting in the re-engagement of workers who were earlier laid off.
Fashola, who was represented by the Director, Quantity Surveyors in the ministry, Dickson Onoja, argued that a revitalised building and construction sector was capable of not only increasing the national infrastructure stock, but would also have huge multiplier effects, and in the process, create massive employment and wealth, thereby, boosting economic prosperity.
He submitted that “This administration, more than any other in recent times, has taken concrete measures to bridge the infrastructure deficit in Nigeria in the belief that the development of a nation’s infrastructure impacts positively on its economy.
“Government believes that massive government investment and expenditure in infrastructure is one sure way of quickly taking Nigeria out of recession. Government, has accordingly, voted massive funds for construction projects in the road and housing sectors. Funds have been released for the payment of debts owed contractors, which has seen the return of most of them to site, resulting in the re-engagement of workers who had earlier been laid off.
“Anyone who takes his or her time to go round the country at this time will notice that Federal Government’s construction projects have regained their momentum and the project sites are, once again, alive and thriving.”
The minister however, expressed concerns over what he described as “The high cost of construction projects is a major challenge, which requires the skills and knowledge of quantity surveyors, as construction cost experts, to address.”
In his response, the President, QSRBN, Husaini Dikko, said the surveying professionals would intervene to minimise the cost of construction given the current economy situation in the country.