Most contractors who have been working for the Federal Government in the power and works sectors are being owed for an average of three years, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said.
Fashola said this at a press conference hosted by Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Abuja on Thursday as part of activities to mark the first year anniversary of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The press conference was also addressed by the ministers of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige; Trade and Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah; and Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Mohammed Bello.
Fashola also said that roads to be constructed by the present administration would be tied to specific purposes, while standardisation would be the first goal in the housing subsector.
He said, “If we had paid the contractors, we probably wouldn’t have the kind of roads we have today. In my meeting with contractors in power and in works over the last 10 days, the common trend is that they have not received payment for an average of three years.
“So, that is the gap. But this country has been running budgets year-on-year. So, what did we do with the budgets? What did we do with the money?
“The gain we have made now in terms of security provides an opportunity for us to replace bomb makers with brick builders; to replace the bombings with buildings; and to get development back on track. That is one big step towards rebuilding the economy. Some contractors folded up because they had lost personnel.”
The minister added, “As far as power is concerned, our road map is to get incremental power first; move from there to steady power supply; and move from there to uninterrupted power.
“As far as works, and particularly roads, are concerned, what we have to first achieve is connectivity of the roads. Not all our roads are bad. If we repair stretches of roads with failed portions, you will re-establish connectivity. That is the first thing we want to achieve.”