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Ongoing projects to lift 100m Nigerians out of poverty —Fashola

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ABOUT 895 Federal Government contracts and 795 infrastructural projects currently ongoing in different parts of the country are part of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, according to Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.

The former Lagos State Governor who was speaking yesterday, at the 27th meeting of the National Council on Works and Housing taking place in Bauchi State, said that embarking on building massive infrastructure remained the quickest way to create wealth nationwide.

“When President Buhari committed on June 12, 2019, to taking 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years, his vision was not a federal government vision, but a national one, which has started with the work being undertaken in all states and FCT and to which the federal government is contributing through infrastructure,” he said.

He maintained that nations that are richer than Nigeria have more infrastructure than the country, stressing that “in order to bridge the gap, there must be deliberate investment plan.”

“Currently, the federal government is executing 895 contracts and 795 projects spanning over 13,000 km of roads and bridges nationwide.

“Across all of these, engineers, geologists, surveyors, lawyers, bankers, suppliers, artisans and labourers, are involved in an ecosystem of enterprise from which they earn a daily, weekly or other periodic income.

“But that is only part of the story, the employment. The other parts include improved asset value, because everywhere a new road or bridge is built, the land value appreciates by up to 30 per cent creating enormous capital gain,” he explained.

Available data shows that in the ‘built industry’, only about 30 per cent of the manpower is employable by design and construction which lasts until the project is completed; while the remaining 70 per cent is employed in the process of operation and maintenance of the infrastructure.

“Currently, we are undertaking maintenance works on 41 bridges that have employed 1,157 people directly and created 3,309 indirect jobs and we have facility management contracts for 25 federal secretariats across Nigeria after we completed renovation works. Each facility manager employs at least 40 people,” he added.

He noted that on completion of the ongoing road projects, journeys that used to take days would take only a few hours, positing that in the definition of poverty, well-being, efficiency and the lack of access, are critical factors.

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