KWARA (PWH Ministry’ Report)- The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola has stated that the present administration is fully committed to deliver the dividend of change promised Nigerians by providing for inclusion and job creation despite the economic situation of the country.
Fashola, stated this while speaking at the 5th National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development held recently in Ilorin, Kwara State, with the theme: ‘’Building Adequate Capacity of Professionals, Artisans and Tradesmen in the Built Environment’’.
The Minister stressed that one objective of the council and its theme is to highlight to all members of the built environment that “it is only those who are willing to act, who are willing to work, and who are willing to get their hands dirty, by blasting rocks, moving sand, cement, iron rods, making doors, molding blocks, pouring concrete and so on that will readily find inclusion in this economic process". This, according to the Minister is what the President meant when he talked about diversifying the economy through agriculture and mining.
According to him, the Federal Government is set to increase capital spending in the 2016 budget to about 30 per cent of the N6.06 Trillion total budget. "What this means is that unlike in the past, up to 2015, when only about N400 Billion was planned for capital spending and indeed much less was actually spent, in 2016 about N1.8 Trillion is planned for capital spending with a renewed commitment to fund it".
Fashola disclosed that a national housing programme must have national acceptability in terms of diversity of designs in response to cultural and climatic differences. He also spoke about standardizing designs, windows and fittings to be locally produced in order to allow for inclusion and creation of jobs to drive the economy in a positive direction.
Adding that the Buhari administration has provided the opportunity for the professionals, artisans and tradesmen in the built environment to show case what they can do to build capacity, while building Nigeria.
The Minister expressed his appreciation to the Government and people of Kwara State for hosting the Council against all odds, saying that it is the kind of leadership that is required in difficult global economic environment.
While declaring the Council open, the host governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed stated that one major challenge that has hobbled this promising sector for decades is the lack of adequate manpower. "It is for this reason that I find the theme of this meeting: "Building Adequate Capacity of Professionals, Artisans and Tradesmen in the Built Environment rather timely, this is because adequate supply of qualified personnel, especially in the building sub-sector, is critical to urban and development planning." Adding that artisans, especially masons, carpenters and electricians, are needed in large numbers by the housing and construction sectors but are largely unavailable or poorly skilled”.
He maintained that from a public safety perspective, the incessant cases of buildings collapse and the resulting loss of lives and property is as attributable to quacks as it is to defective building materials and poor quality standards.
The Governor urged stakeholders to show interest in appraising these scenarios and find lasting solution towards putting an end to the use of quacks and substandard materials in the building sector.
He further noted that the opportunity provided by the 5th National Council should be used to review existing policies on Lands, Housing and Urban Development and put in place new policies that will adequately address existing challenges and bequeath future generations with an efficient land and housing sector.