...laments budget cuts
…..As Senate panels commend him on projects execution
Federal Government outstanding liabilities owed contractors handling road and housing projects across the country stands at N956billion as at September 2022, said the Minister of Works and Housing , Mr Babatunde Fashola .
Fashola who stated this on Wednesday at separate 2023 budget defence sessions with the Senate Committees on Works and Housing , also lamented over drastic budget cuts earmarked for the two sectors in the 2023 fiscal year .
Out of the N956billion outstanding liabilities , the federal government is owing contractors handling the National Housing Scheme N191.75billion while the remaining balance of N765billion is owed contractorls handling road projects across the country from the total contract value of N10.4trillion .
Specifically in his submissions before the Senate Committee on Housing , Fashola said the National Housing Project which started in 2016 has been executed in 35 out of 36 states of the federation with 1,250 contractors .
The 6, 000 Housing units he added , has created 46 construction sites across the country , 29, 030 direct employment and 57, 874 indirect employment .
” The National Housing Project is very much on course but the problems of paucity of fund through drastic budget slash and outstanding liabilities of N191.75billion , need to be urgently looked into .
” In 2022 fiscal year , while the total capital votes for both Works and Housing Components of the Ministry was N441.18billion , the proposal made for 2023 fiscal year is N146billion .
” Out of the proposed N146billion as capital expenditure for the entire Ministry in 2023 fiscal year , only N45billion is earmarked for Housing sector ” , he said .
Making similar submissions to the Senate Committee on Works , the Minister said : ” The main challenge to highways development in the country remains inadequate funding .
” As at date , government is committed to highway contractors to the tune of about N10.4trillion while a total of about N765billion are unpaid certificates for executed works .
” Secondly , the shortage of younger Engineers / Technical officers in the Ministry as a result of embargo on employment is affecting proficient project supervision at the sites “.
However , Chairmen and members of the committees , commended the Minister for series of roads and Housing projects executed across the country in the face of scarce resources and other challenges .
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing , Senator Sam Egwu ( PDP Ebonyi North ), told the Minister to use the proposed N45billion capital votes in the 2023 budget to complete the remaining 3,000 units of the 6,000 units National Housing Project .
At the Committee on Works , headed by Senator Adamu Aliero ( PDP Kebbi Central) , the Minister was tasked on ensuring completion of 2nd Niger Bridge this year and the critical road projects he highlighted .
I’ll be back as governor soon – Oyetola
The immediate Past Governor of Osun State Gboyega Oyetola has vowed that he shall be back as governor of the state once again.
Oyetola stated this in a statement he released late Saturday, to bid the state farewell as his four-year tenure ends November 27, 2022.
He said he would be stepping aside as a law-abiding citizen, noting that the outcome of the Osun governorship election that produced Governor Ademola Adeleke of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, who was sworn-in earlier today, was still being challenged in court.
Oyetola also said he looked forward to continue governing Osun again, as he anticipated victory from court.
Read the full speech of Oyetola’s farewell message here:
“My Dear Good People of Osun,
“As I step aside today (Sunday) following the conclusion of the four-year tenure you freely gave me, I thank God and I thank you for your support, cooperation and prayers over the years.
“I recall how the journey began four years ago; how by your belief in me and your conviction in the plans and programmes of our Party, you exercised your right to vote for me.
“Motivated by God’s promise, my conviction, we promised that we would serve you with steady heart and hands. We promised that we would hit the ground running once we assume office. We gave our words that we would put you first and run a people-centred government. We pledged to uphold the best ideals befitting of an Omoluabi.
“As we draw the curtain on this first tenure, we are convinced that we neither reneged on our promises nor disappointed you. We kept faith with you and maintained fidelity with our electoral promises. It was our wish to continue to serve you but we are constrained by the outcome of the July 16 governorship election which we are already challenging in court.
“As a law-abiding citizen and government, we are stepping aside to allow the law take its course.
“However, we look forward to continue to serve you in no distant future. We have absolute trust in God that we shall be back soon, as we have implicit trust and confidence in the judiciary to do justice in the case before it.
“We are confident that this period of temporary political eclipse shall pass. The sun shall shine again, brighter and warmer and the sustainable development and participatory governance that we enthroned, which have been applauded by local and international organisations, shall be restored and put on a surer and better footing.
“There can be no substitute to people-oriented and development savvy governance in a democracy. The tap roots of the unprecedented good governance, inclusive and participatory governance that we introduced, which delivered massive equitable projects and programmes are too strong to be uprooted.
“My Dear good people of Osun, I cannot thank you enough for not only supporting us throughout our tenure but for also standing by us even after the outcome of the July 16 election. Your goodwill encouraged us to continue with all our projects till the last day.
“Let me reiterate here that in this first tenure, we were able to take care of the fears and evil of fiscal indiscipline and lack of implementation, which hamper projects and services in the nation’s public service. This can be seen in the myriad of people-centred and masses-focused projects we delivered for the use of the people of the dtate in this first term.
“We proved that infrastructure and economic development are doable in a depressed economy and that stagnated development in a struggling economy is a product of intellectual laziness, dearth of creativity, shortage of innovation and lack of political will.
“The laudable and people-centred projects we were able to deliver include the feeding of 30,000 vulnerable persons in Osun on a monthly basis through the Osun Food Support Scheme and financial support for the aged and widows; opening up of the Mining sector that attracted big investors to the state; reforming of the educational sector, including the recruitment of 2,500 teachers; review of the single school uniform regime among others in line with the demand of the people; renovation of school buildings, distribution of educational materials to our pupils, provision of free education and free meals to them as well as training and re-training of our teachers to provide quality education for our children to enhance their performance as leaders of tomorrow.
“In order to increase access to quality and equitable education at all levels with a view to empowering Osun citizens to realise their full potential, we upgraded the existing Osun State College of Education, Ilesa to a full-fledged Iniversity of Ilesa, with a world-class funding strategies that would not exert unnecessary pressure on the finances of the state; fixing of the State Specialist Hospital, Asubiaro and equipping same with state-of-the-art equipment, where we constructed120-bed ward and 30 units of Doctor’s Quarters; rehabilitation of the Ejigbo and Ifetedo General Hospitals; we also instituted the Osun Health Insurance Scheme to deliver affordable healthcare to our workers while offering free health services to the vulnerable under the scheme; revitalisation of 332 Primary Health Centres – one per ward across the state.
“We constructed, reconstructed and rehabilitated rural and township roads to open up our rural areas, help our farmers to transport their produce to the market and generally bring equitable development to our state. Apart from the Olaiya Flyover, which is an architectural masterpiece, a paragon of aesthetics and a socioeconomic signature on the economic transformation captured by the Development Agenda we exchanged for the mandate of our people, other major roads that were touched by our administration are: Ada-Igbajo road, Osogbo-Kelebe-Iragbiji road, and Akindeko-Awosuru link road via Adejumo Street with Oremeji spur, Akinlade Street, Adewale Street with loop to WAEC road all in Osogbo; Army Barack (Ede)-Ara-Ejigbo township road, Moro-Yakoyo-Ipetumodu-Asipa-Ife/Ibadan Expressway Junction Road and Ereja Roundabout-Ereguru-Isaare-Oke Oye-Sabo (Irojo)-Ilesa/Akure Expressway Junction.
“Others are: Lawyer Atanda Road, Iwo; Ila-Arandun-Kwara Boundary Road; Nike Gallery – Ido – Osun Township airport with palace spur; Ikirun – Eko-Ende Road; the access road to Fountain University, Osogbo; Osogbo (Lameco)-Okinni-Ilobu – Ifon Osun Market with Spur to Olobu’s Palace; Osogbo/Ilobu-Akari-Erin Osun Roundabout on Osun LCDA Junction; Post Office-Ayetoro – Jamodo – Ifon Palace – Janta Ifon Osun; Isale-Asa-Oke Aree road, Iree, as well as Ikire township roads among other interventions. There are however a few other roads that are still on-going, while some are nearing completion. Among these roads are: Ife Township Roads; Inisa Road and Osogbo-Iwo Road among others. We did all these because fixing our State’s infrastructure deficit is a critical item on our Development Agenda. This is because no economy can truly succeed without adequate infrastructure to make life easy for residents and businesses.
“We also restored the lost glory of our civil service and ensured that workers’ salaries were not only promptly paid but continued to pay minimum wage despite the devastating effect of COVID-19 pandemic. We stood tall among comity of states in the fight against COVID-19.
“We also resolutely defended and prioritised the welfare of workers and pensioners. For this first term, we expended over N50 billion to cater for our senior citizens to settle their pensions and gratuities. We remitted the contributory pension as and when due, and we were at the same time reducing the backlog we inherited from the previous administration. By and large, we were able to stabilise the economy of the state under our leadership.
“We never toyed with the security of our people as we cooperated with other states in South-West to set up Amotekun to support the conventional security agencies in order to further secure our state.
“We also launched the Osun Youth Policy Document to take care of the present and future of our younger generation, just as we injected over N2 billion into the economy through the Osun Microcredit Agency to empower our market men and women.
“From a little above 10billion in 2018, we have been able to grow the State Internally Generate Revenue by N20billion, just as our performance in the World Bank’s States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability has continued to earn us accolades and financial benefits.
“In 2018 before we came into office, Osun was placed 32nd on the fiscal sustainability index, finishing just ahead of Taraba, Plateau, Adamawa and Kogi states.
“However, by the latest ranking in 2021, we have climbed to the 19th place on the index, as we are now ranked 13th out of 36 states of the federation.
As we end our first term, be rest assured that Osun is more stable economically than we met it in 2018 and it remained the most peaceful state in the country under our leadership.
“For four years, we did not take any bank loan facility. But we benefited from the N3billion monthly intervention from the Federal Government to all the states for six months to cushion the effect of deductions of budget support facility and salary bailout accessed by the previous administration, just as we have paid N97 billion from the total debt we inherited in 2018.
“We are leaving behind cash of over N14 billion. In addition to the N14 billion cash, another N8 billion is being expected between December and January from our performance in SFTAS and the IGR. Also, another $72 million will come to the state soon from RAMP 3, NG-CARES, Nigeria for Women Project and Ease of Doing Business. These are earned, based on performance. And we have indeed performed to earn them. It was part of the same performance that earned us the award of Best Governor on Efficiency of Public Expenditure and TOP Performer on Domestic Revenue Mobilisation by the World Bank’s States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability, SFTAS, recently.
“We have gone this length to let you know that Osun under our leadership was sustainable. It was done through fiscal discipline and personal sacrifices.
“On behalf of our team, I appeal to you all to continue to be law abiding and to work assiduously to build the Osun of our dream.
“Together, we shall continue to mend the broken walls of our dear state and restore her glory for our collective good and that of posterity.
“Thank you all and may God continue to bless Osun.”
Osun: Adeleke makes first appointments
Osun State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke, has made his first appointments after his inauguration as governor on Sunday.
Adeleke appointed Alhaji Kazeem Akinleye as his Chief of Staff.
The governor also announced the appointment of ex-chairman, Osogbo Local Government, Alhaji Teslim Igbalaye, as the Secretary to the State Government.
A statement signed by the governor also announced the appointment of Mallam Olawale Rasheed as his spokesperson.
“The appointments take immediate effect,” the statement partly read
Abuja-Kaduna Rail service starts in 7 days- FG
The Federal Government says train services between the Abuja and Kaduna route will resume within seven day from Nov. 27, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Minister of Transportation Mua’zu Sambo disclosed this on Sunday while inspecting the test running the train route.
The minister said that this was to enable passengers to get used to the new requirements for enjoying the train service.
He said:” The issue of whether the train will start tomorrow or not, we have not said the train services will start tomorrow.
”I want to be very categorical about that. Now, we have introduced a new system before you buy a ticket.
” Your purchase of a ticket requires you to provide a phone number and a national identification number in order to profile, because that is the beginning of the security checks.
”So, at any point in time when a train moves from one station to another we know who and who are on board.
” If you don’t have an NIN, you are not going to board our train. It is as simple as that.
”If you are a minor, an adult will pay for you and will register for you and an adult can only register for not more than four minors.”
Sambo added that:” Now, we want to give sufficient time for the Nigerian public to listen to these and assimilate this new system, because if we start tomorrow, a lot of people will be disgruntled.
” Definitely between three, four, five days, certainly not more than a week.”
He assured Nigerians that 90 per cent arrangement had been completed for the smooth commencement of the services.
Sambo added that the remaining 10 per cent measures would be achieved in a couple of days for the smooth commencement.
”I think we are 90 per cent ready as far as what we are set out to do is concerned.
” The remaining 10 per cent I am sure would be achieved in the next couple of days for full resumption of train services.
” Certain concrete measures that are feasible include the ticketing. Security starts from ticketing so now you don’t buy a ticket unless you have a valid phone number and you have a NIN.
” And if you are a foreigner, you also have a means of identification you can use which is produced by the National Identity Management Commission.
” Having secured your ticket, you will not get access to the lounge until the machine reads the barcode in your receipt.
” Your details will show and your complete profile will show on the screen. Only then will you be allowed to go into the lounge. This is what we call customer profiling,” Sambo said.
According to the minister, there will be increased number of security personnel some of which may not be wearing uniform in order to guarantee the safety of passengers.
He said:” The other thing is that, for every journey the train is monitored every second and the train driver can see up to a certain distance.
”If there is any threats on the track, that would enable him march the break before getting to the perceived threat.”
Sambo explained that there would be reduced number of trips on the route and as the traveling population picked, the number of trips would increase.
”But we will certainly not travel at night,” he said.
He further said that some other sensitive equipment which would not be disclosed had also been put in place to ensure safety of life and property.
On fares, he said discussions were in place and the fares could be increased.
”My assurance to Nigerians is that even I will be using the train, and other of my counterparts who have homes in Kaduna.
”Infect, from next week they will start using this train so I am giving Nigerians full assurance that a human being can give that this train is safe for them to use.
”There is absolutely nothing to fear. We have learnt from what has happened and life is about learning lessons and adopting measures with the lessons.
”As a responsible government, we have seen those lessons and we have devised appropriate measures to counter it.
”Like I always say that I was not going to allow this train to resume until everybody in captivity was released and to the glory of God I have achieved that.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that train services along the corridor was halted due to terrorist attack on March 28 which led to loss of lives and kidnap of some passengers
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