Tuesday, December 8, 2015 11:14 pm
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, says the Federal Government would re-introduce highway tolling to raise additional funds to finance road infrastructure and ensure efficient road maintenance.
Fashola said this on Tuesday in Abuja during his first news conference tagged “Setting the Agenda for Delivering Change”.
He said that adequate funding of the nation’s road infrastructure would generate job opportunities and reduce unemployment in the country.
He said that as a short-term strategy, the ministry would start with quick completion of ongoing inter-state roads in order to facilitate connectivity, before working on those that bear heavy traffic.
Fashola also announced his ministry’s plan in fixing the epileptic power supply.
He said Government will appoint Power Desk Officers in 36 states and FCT for effective electricity development in the country.
He said that to ensure effective development, the ministry would collaborate with state commissioners of works and housing to achieve this.
He said that in 2013, government was the sole owner of all power assets in Nigeria except a few independent power plants.
Fashola said that with the implementation of Electricity Power Sector Reform Act of 2005, government ownership of power changed, adding that government now focused on transmission network and gas supply.
He said that government spending on all aspects of power had significantly reduced except for some projects started under the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP).
He said the ministry of petroleum had indicated interest to build pipelines to transport gas to power plants that would add another 2,000 mw to power stock within 12-15 months.
According to him, government has identified 142 projects of which 45 are at 50 per cent completion and about 22 can be completed within a year.
He explained that government would expand the carrying capacity of TCN, Gencos and the Discos, so that in future there would be capacity to carry whatever power was generated.
He assured the investors that government would maintain its credibility with them, adding that the surest way not to have power was to oppose the implementation of the Tariff Order.
Fashola said government would meet with NERC to ensure that both consumers and investors would not be cheated.
Fashola urged all governments’ parastatals, states and all its agencies to ensure payment of their electricity bills regularly to move the sector forward.
Fashola also unfolded plans to deliver 17, 760 flats nationwide to address housing deficit in the country.
He said that the ministry would collaborate with state governors to provide land of between five and 10 hectares with title documents and access roads to the the the project sites.
“In the housing sector, if we complete our ongoing projects, and we get land from state governors and the FCT, using the Lagos Homes model, we should start 40 blocks of housing in each state and FCT.
“We see this leading to potential delivery of 12 flats (homes) per block and 480 flats (homes) per state, and 17,760 flats (homes) nationwide, for a start.
“These figures are only examples and not fixed in definition and they are subject first to budgetary approvals and availability of finance.’’
Fashola said that the projects would create job opportunities for many Nigerians, especially the youth.