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Nigeria’s Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Saturday argued that despite the recent outcry on the huge sum of money allocated for the renovation of the National Assembly, Nigerians stand to gain from it in so many ways.
Africa Daily News had earlier reported that there was an outcry over the N37 billion allegedly approved for the renovation of the National Assembly, with many Nigerians describing it as a misplacement of priority.
However, Fashola said maintenance of public infrastructures is a veritable tool to boost any economy.
Speaking on a public accountability programme on Bond FM in Lagos, monitored by our correspondent, the minister disclosed that no fewer than 5000 Nigerians comprising artisans, workmen, engineers, among others have been engaged in the ongoing maintenance of federal secretariats across the country.
The renovation of federal secretariats, he said, is part of the federal public assets maintenance programme recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) which would extend to federal hospitals in the country.
Fashola also disclosed that no fewer than 100 Nigerians were engaged in the just concluded rehabilitation of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.
Fashola said President Muhammadu Buhari approved the public assets maintenance programme because of the potential in generating more employment for Nigerians.
He said, ‘There is nothing like maintenance culture but a maintenance economy. We will achieve a lot by adopting what I call a maintenance economy.
‘Like I told you we are carrying out renovation of many highways and bridges. The recently opened Third Mainland Bridge, over 100 Nigerians were employed.
‘Many people would be employed from the maintenance of our roads and highways and as I am talking to you, we have started maintenance of federal secretariats across the country. If you go there, you would see people cleaning, painting, fixing the facilities and other activities.
‘Over 5000 have been employed. The Federal Government is doing its own, the states and other private individuals should follow suit by regularly maintaining their assets and infrastructures. By this we can engage many artisans. What I am saying basically is that maintenance is not about culture, it is largely about boosting the economy.
‘We have started with the federal secretariats, we will soon commence with the federal hospitals and many public assets.
‘You remember recently there was an outcry over the renovation of the National Assembly which would gulp billions of naira, who will carry out the work? Welders, plumbers, painters, are the people that would do the work.
‘Nigerians are criticizing the money not minding the economic benefits. While the money may be huge as being criticized, Nigerians are still the beneficiaries. The money will come back to our young graduates, the engineers and the likes.’
Commenting on housing, Fashola said the Federal Government is committed to providing mass housing for all.
He disclosed that several interventions through its agencies and parastatals have helped many Nigerians to have access to cheap and affordable homes.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK