By Chika Okeke, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that federal government paid about N50 billion to 62 contractors working on 149 projects this year in order to continue works on the nation’s roads and bridges and sustain the workforce.
This is even as he revealed that payments made to 103 construction companies executing 192 projects during the implementation of the 2016 budget resulted in the employment of 17,749 people directly and 52, 000 indirectly in works section.
He stated this in Abuja yesterday at the 27th Biennial Conference of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) with the theme, ‘Developing the Economy for Sustainable Growth: The Construction Industry as an Effective Stimulant.
The Vice president observed that similar payments were extended to supervising consultants in the housing and powers sectors of the ministry of power, works and housing adding that increased spending led to recall of sacked workers and reopening of construction sites.
“Through this ministry, we also put in place a well-articulated programme for the restoration of the nation’s road network through improved funding with hundreds of billions of naira already spent in constructing new roads and rehabilitating hitherto dilapidated and abandoned roads,” he said.
Osinbajo who was represented by the minister of state power, works and housing II, Surv. Suleiman Hassan Zarma was optimistic that quantity surveyors have a big role to play in finding solutions to the problem of high cost of construction projects in Nigeria.
“By bringing your expertise to bear on the costing and cost management of our projects, we can together achieve value for money and cost efficiency in our project implementation,’’ he said.
He assured that government would continue to patronise local contractors, pay contractors as and when due for works properly executed and encourage local production of construction materials.
In her address, the president of NIQS, QS Mercy Iyortyer recalled that by end of 2013 that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was rebased after 24 years from $270 billion to $510 billion which made Nigeria emerge as Africa’s largest economy and 26th in the world.
She said: “It was a major development for Nigeria as it improved Nigeria’s economic profile among foreign direct investors with a good measure for economic growth, though it did not necessarily mean that the standard of living of the average Nigerian improved the day after the announcement”.
She noted that the theme was selected towards contributing to the change mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari led administration in the area of sustainable economic growth by underscoring the prominent role played by the construction industry on overall economic growth especially in stimulating the economy.
Iyortyer commended the federal government for getting Nigeria out of recession by reducing dependency on oil revenues and diversifying the economy through investments in agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals mining as well as tackling other macroeconomic factors.
She maintained that if Nigeria’s future would be sustained beyond oil that there must be aggressive efforts towards expanding, developing and improving the construction sector to sustain the economy.
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