By Ezikeozor Samuel
The Minister of Works and housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN has stated that the Infrastructure policy of the present administration is clearly hitting the right buttons across the country.
He made this statement during an inspection tour of Amansea Section of the Rehabilitation of Onitsha-Enugu Expressway, Anambra; and the tour of the Federal Secretariat, Awka; as well as the National Housing Programme at Isiagwu, the Second Niger Bridge in Anambra and Delta States and the National Housing Programme in Asaba, Delta State.
Mr. President, he said has continued to emphasize commitment to infrastructure as the quickest way to employing people. Fashola further said, “Policies have very diverse and extensive impact on the people, so when Mr. President says he wants to lift a 100millon people out of poverty he knows what he is saying and he knows some of the right buttons like infrastructure, to press.”
Whilst going round the sites, the Minister interacted with workers who were full of appreciation to the administration of President Buhari for the opportunity to work and earn a living rather than going into crime. Mr. Sunday Etikwu, a mason at one of the National Housing Programme site who was visibly excited said he received a daily pay of N4,500 naira and works all through the week.
A food vendor Mrs. Ebele Chukwu also expressed happiness for the opportunity to cook and sell alongside her husband who works as a labourer at the site goes home with at least N5,000 naira daily.
Fashola said the end product may be constructing a road or building a housing estate but the human capacity is enhanced through drains being laid, electric fittings being installed, foundations being dug, blocks being molded and 7 foods being supplied, thereby proving employment and boosting the economy as well as the living standard of the community and its environs. “It is the initial value chain of the economy which is the first impact you feel when it comes to infrastructure” he said.
At the National Housing Programme site at Isiagwu, the Minister observed significant improvements especially when accessing the site as compared to what obtained when he first came to the site.
He further said it was a far sighted vision by the state government to open up the community, but was still expectant on their commitment to open up more roads as it would take some time for the Isiagwu community to come alive.
During the inspection of the Federal Secretariat project in Awka the supervisor Engr. Nnamdi Umeji who conducted the minister round the site said the project had reached 90% completion level.
The contractor handling the project observed that the project had no provision for a lift as it was not budgeted for. The Minster asked him to submit the design and cost implication for the provision of a lift booth which the contractor promised to submit within three weeks.
Fashola also inspected the National Housing Programme in Asaba located along Benin-Asaba expressway which had twelve contractors on site. The Project Supervisor, Arc. Godwin Otobo said the first phase of the semi detached houses had reached almost 100% completion level.
Other projects inspected were the construction of Umunya road in Awka, Anambra State where the Minister expressed dissatisfaction over the slow pace of work and charged the contractor to expedite action on the project and the construction of the second Niger Bridge which had reached over 30% completion level.
It was revealed that the Second Niger Bridge will be completed in year 2022.