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19 September, 2018

Minister Decries The Deplorable State Of FHA Roads: Promises Government Intervention

The Honourable Minister of State II for Power, Works and Housing, Surv. Suleiman Hassan Zarma, mnis, has lamented the deplorable condition of road and drainage infrastructures at the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) estate, Lugbe, attributing it to critical failures of the planning authorities in time past in upgrading them, giving room to the flagrant abuse of planning regulations by residents.

The Minister stated this today in Abuja during an assessment tour of the infrastructural facilities at the estate along side with the Managing Director of Federal Housing Authority, Prof Mohammed Al-amin.

According to him, ‘’the typography of the estate was not fully taken into consideration at the planning and design stage, hence the reason for the hydraulic failures.’’ He added that though the facilities that were initially deployed, like the drainage system, maybe small and over stretched such that it cannot contain large volume of water especially during the flooding period.

Zarma said that the present administration, as part of its commitment to the citizenry, will however, not relent in upgrading of infrastructural services across the country to enhance and improve the living standards of Nigerians Federal Government owned estates.

Earlier, the Managing Director of the Federal Housing Authority, Prof. Mohammed Al-amin thanked the Federal Government and the ministry for massively investing in infrastructures across the country and maintaining the existing structures.

While conducting the Minister and journalists round the roads and other facilities in the estate, Al-amin stated that the essence of the visit is to upgrade the FHA settlement into an urban centre due to its proximity to the city centre and the different categories of civil servants living in the housing estate.

Speaking at the site of the inspection, the Chairman of the Residents Association, Mr Odelana Adesina thanked the Minister for creating time to visit the estate. He said the residents are glad that the visit by the Minister has given him the opportunity to have a  firsthand information about the deplorable state of the roads and solicited the support of government for the rehabilitation of the existing/major road as well as build alternative roads in and out of the estate for ease of movement by residents.

He also urged the government to assist the residents in the provision of other infrastructures such as hospitals, drainages, water supply, metering for electricity and improved security within the estate.

The Federal Housing Authority Estate in Lugbe was built some 30 years ago and currently accommodates over 70,000 different categories of federal civil servants working in the city centre.

Fashola Advises U.N. To Use Nigerian Accident Victims' Data The Honourable Minister of Power Work, and Housing Babatunde Raji Fashola while hosting the United Nations Secretary General's Envoy for Road Safety, Mr Jean Todt, called upon the Organisation to dwell more on the data provided by the Nigerian Government on accident victims, explaining that the figures will be more acceptable, especially when there is conflict between those of the UN and Nigeria. 2. The Minister supported his claims by saying that since Nigerian government provides support for the accident victims; make hospital arrangements and sundry for the injured, the country will be in a better position to supply accurate, reliable and acceptable data. Fashola suggested to the UN that data of accident victims should be globally ranked to spur competition for the best positions in the ranking amongst the comity of Nations, thereby reducing road accidents. 3. While responding to the Envoy's remark that pedestrians are the most involved in road accidents, the Minister promised to provide support for the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), urging them to hasten the prosecution of offenders to serve as a deterrent to bad road users. 4. The Corps Marshal of FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi disclosed that his Organisation is currently collaborating with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to generate a more accurate data to be used in the country. 5. Present at the event were the Ministers of State I and II, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri and Surv. Suleiman Hassan Zarma respectively, the Permanent Secretary, Works and Housing sector, Alhaji Mohammed Bukar, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Directors of the Ministry and Management staff of the FRSC.  
28 August, 2017
FG Poised To Revitalise Housing Sector In The Provision Of Affordable Housing Delivery The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has reiterated its commitment to revitalising the Housing Sector of the Ministry by providing quantum budgetary allocation to the Sector in order to address the challenges of housing deficit in the country. This was stated by the Permanent Secretary (Works & Housing) sectors of the Ministry, Mohammed Bukar while declaring open the meeting of Permanent Secretaries at the on-going 6th meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development in Abuja. Mohammed stated that the Council Meeting provides an avenue for stakeholders in the built environment across the nation to come together and deliberate on matters that will move the Housing Sector forward. He added that deliberations and recommendations from delegates in the conference will proffer solutions and reposition the Sector for better performance and meeting the housing needs of the people. Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Chinyeaka Christian, represented by the Director of Land Administration, Adamu Jibrin Hussaini noted in his remarks that the theme of the Council: ‘’Building for Inclusion, Growth and Prosperity’’ is not only apt, but that it will avail professionals and other stakeholders the opportunity to rub minds and articulate common fronts in tackling challenges in the sub-sector. The FCT Permanent Secretary stated that the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammed Musa Bello is working very hard to reposition the over 8, 000 square kilometres land space in the Federal Capital for a better result, adding that provision of basic infrastructure in the nation’s capital is key to this present Administration. The Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development which started two days ago, featured extensive deliberations on various Memoranda by various states across the federation, stakeholders and other relevant organizations. Reports of the meeting will be discussed by the forum of the Permanent Secretaries today with a view to making far reaching recommendations to the Council coming up tomorrow, 24 August, 2017.   Olatunji John PIO (Housing) For: Ag Director (Information)      
25 August, 2017
Remarks By The Honourable Minister Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN At The Monthly Power Sector Operators Meeting Held In Kano On Monday 14th August 2017 I welcome you to another of our monthly meetings at which I feel the need to make fairly extended opening remarks, in order to properly place on record the steps we are taking, the progress we are making and the challenges we still have to overcome, as we pursue our road map of incremental, steady and ultimately uninterrupted power. I am compelled to start on a sad note, to acknowledge an electrical accident that occurred in Minna, Niger recently, and to commiserate with the victims and extend our heartfelt sympathy to their families and to the people and Government of Niger state. As soon as the incident was brought to my attention, I asked the officials of NEMSA, our safety and standards agency to visit the scene, condole the victims and conduct an investigation, the report of which reached me by e-mail over the weekend and which we will review and implement. As you will re-call, Government has approved the Power Sector Recovery Programme, a series of actions, Policies and Programmes aimed at re- engineering the shortcomings of the privatisation process, supporting the process through this transition and learning period, and ultimately delivering a stable, competitive and efficient Power Sector for Nigeria. Some of the policies, programmes, actions which have started taking effect include: a.    Payment assurance guarantee of N 701b b.    Constitution of some boards of agencies like NERC and REA, with more still to come c.    Verification of MDA debts, now completed with plans to get approvals on how to pay d.    Expansion of transmission capacity with the completion of Kukwaba Sub-Station last month to bring relief to Katampe in Abuja, Completion of Aja Sub-Station in Lagos and last week to completion of the repairs at Ikot Ekpene switching station to activate the full 1,300MW evacuation capacity of the Calabar to Ikot Ekpene double circuit transmission line. e.    FEC approval of the compromise agreement that frees the Federal Government of Nigeria of Judgement Debt of N119Billion, and also releases N 39 Billion towards the supply of meters to customers of Discos I will pause here to expatiate on how this will work Please re-call that Government had in the past attempted to intervene in meter supply through CAPMI which ultimately I decided we should wind down because of the distrust and disaffection it was creating between consumers and Discos with Government  caught in the middle with numerous petitions by customers who paid for meters that were not delivered within the approved time or at all. Some Discos have come back to say that their customers still want to pay for meters and they can reach agreements with them on how to pay for it. Government will not stand in the way of such an agreement. It is consistent with the intent of privatization envisioned by The Electric Power Sector Reform ACT (EPSRA) or at least it does not violate the Act. What I will reiterate is that the Discos have the obligation to meter customers, because they are the ones who charge for electricity which must be measured. If the customers and the Discos reach an agreement between themselves, where the customer assumes the responsibility of the Disco of his own free will, and NERC sanctions this agreement, then so be it. The difference between this kind of agreement and CAPMI, is that it is not a government initiative which CAPMI was. However, through NERC, Government will monitor and regulate to ensure that Discos do not use this as an excuse to abdicate their responsibility to provide meters. In addition to this kind of agreement, what government has decided to do is optimize the EPSRA provision to democratize access to meters, starting with the N 39 Billion, which will be a loan to the meter provider. While it is true that Discos have the obligation to meter customers, the law did not vest a monopoly of meter supplies, or even retail sales, in Discos. Anybody who qualifies under safety regulation by NEMSA and under licenses issued by the NERC can supply meters to customers under conditions stipulated by NERC. In other words, meter supply is an open but regulated business. You need a license from NERC to undertake it. You need to comply with testing and safety standards of NEMSA to produce, import or install it but it is not a  monopoly for Discos alone. Therefore, pursuant to the provisions of the EPSRA, NERC will issue regulations for : a.    Meter service providers b.    Meter and retail franchise operators c.    Community Aggregation Services for sale of electricity and provision of meters d.    Low cost meter supply Once the regulations are ready we will work with NERC to clarify and announce how to licence and implement the metering programmes. We have met with investors of Discos and discussed these intentions with them, and we will work with them through NERC to formalize the details. The successful implementation of this programme will help to reduce conflict between Discos and customers, ensure collection of tariff, reduce losses, improve liquidity and bring some relief to the finances of some Discos who cannot afford to fund meters. In addition to the meter issue, we have made some progress with generation. I have previously reported that unlike in 2016, damage to Gas pipelines and assets have reduced in 2017 as a result of Government effort and significant progress is being made with repairs and supply of gas. Although this does not mean that we have enough gas for all our power plants, we are at least getting closer to where we were in February 2016 when we hit 5074 MW mainly by the gas plants before the attack on pipelines started. Today’s improved gas supply also coincides with the onset of the rains which gives us added power from the Hydros. The available power that can go on the Grid as at August 10, 2017 is 6,863 MW. The transmission capacity is at 6,700MW. The primary constraint at the moment is the inability of the distribution companies’ 33kV infrastructure to collect all the power that can be delivered at the 750 33kV delivery points at transmission substations and distribute the energy to paying customers. This is progress, that is consistent with our road map of Incremental Power, showing a growth of generation from 2690 MW in May 2015 and growth of transmission from 5,000 MW in May  2015. But I regret to inform that this progress creates a new problem. The Discos are unable to take and sell the power. This is the first time we have more power than the Discos can distribute. It shows that some problems in Generation and Transmission are being solved, while there are still challenges in the value chain. As you know, the assets that Discos inherited were largely aging, investment by them has not been sufficient, foreign exchange volatilities have affected their asset value base and their ability to access credit. We need every part of the value chain, from Gas to Generation, Transmission to Distribution to operate efficiently. Therefore, just as the payment assurance guarantee has provided some comfort for gas and Gencos and transmission investment by Government budget is translating to Incremental Power, we have declared the policy of eligible customer and also the mini Grid regulations. These are also what was intended by the EPSRA which I urge all Nigerians to take time to read. It is a profound piece of Legislation. If we read and understand its provision and we are patient with its steady implementation, we will reap its rewards. Eligible Customers What the law prescribes is the solution to the problem that the Discos currently have with aging distribution equipment at their 33kv and 11kv distribution points and with distribution transformers. Large Power consumers to be prescribed by NERC, such as state Government secretariats, large estates, industrial complexes and even generation companies can apply to NERC to build the distribution assets that Discos cannot fund, defray the cost over time, or pay a user charge to the Disco under an arrangement approved by NERC in order to get more reliable power, at a price which is higher than public tariff of N29Kw/h but less than N80kw/h of diesel power. This creates a new window of investment in the Sector to supply power on a willing buyer and willing seller basis at a price to be negotiated over the public Tariff of N29Kw/h and below Diesel power of at least N80Kw/h. I have heard statements that raise questions about limitations of state Government to participate in power production. I will like to say that whether it is under the Eligible customer principle or Embedded Generation principle, there is nothing in the Law that limits a state Government except to get a licence from NERC. Mini Grids This is also consistent with our policy of Incremental power, and the provisions of the EPRSA which shows that within a Disco’s licence, a new licence can be granted by NERC: because no monopoly was intended by the law unless is expressly stated in the licence. Mini Grids are already a feature of many parts of the world where privatization has taken place and they democratize access to power for those who want to produce below 1MW of power. The Regulations, released by NERC today show the process for qualification and application. I can only ask that we all embrace it and allow it to work. I see many possibilities. First access to power, economic boost, relief to Disocs from unsatisfied customers, an opportunity for Discos to re-invent their businesses with a chance in the future to buy power from mini grids or even buy out the Grid owner. Ladies and Gentlemen, these and more are what the EPSRA clearly intended. This is what the Government is determined to deliver to the people by administering the law, and this is our progress report from last month. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing 14th August 2017  
15 August, 2017
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PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT
5 October, 2018

APC CONVENTION SATURDAY, 6TH OCTORBER, 2018

This is to inform FCT Residents, Visitors and Motorists that due to the National Convention of the All Progressives Congress, APC slated for Saturday, 6th October 2018 at the Eagle Square, Abuja, an unusual influx of human and vehicular traffic will be experienced within the city with the attendant traffic congestion in and around the venue of the convention.

To this effect all vehicular movement through Shehu Shagari Way from the early hours of Saturday, 6th October, 2018 to Sunday, 7th October  will be diverted at Ralph Sodeinde Street by Bullet Building to link Central Business District. Motorists will also be diverted at Kur Mohammed Street and Constitution Avenue at Bayelsa House to Central Business District.

Traffic on Ahmadu Bello Way will equally be diverted at Ralph Sodeinde Street by Finance Junction to Central Business District. Motorists will also be diverted at Kur Mohammed Street or Constitution Avenue by Benue Building to link Central Business District.

The Federal Capital Territory Administration have mobilized Officers of the Police, FRSC, FCT Directorate of Road Traffic Service and other relevant Traffic Enforcement Agencies to various flash points to ensure seamless traffic flow.

Parking has been made available at the National Stadium for ALL Delegates coming from outside Abuja from where they will be conveyed to the venue by dedicated Buses.

In the same vein, ALL Delegates from within the FCT should converge at the Old Parade Ground  from where they will be conveyed to the venue.

Please note that parking around the Eagle Square and its environs will not be tolerated as offending vehicles will be removed.

The understanding of the public is hereby solicited

Secretary, Transportation Secretariat
Federal Capital Territory

OTHER NEWS
15 August, 2018

Remarks By The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry Of Power, Works And Housing, (Works And Housing Sector), Mohammed Bukar, At The 24th National Council Meeting On Works, Held In Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State

Protocols,

I am pleased to welcome you to the 24th Meeting of the National Council on Works holding in Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State.

2. As you are aware, the theme of this year’s National Council Meeting is “Ensuring Value-for-Money in Nigerian Highways Development”. The theme is apt and timely, considering our collective resolve to address the challenges in road development in the country within available resources.

3. In order to ensure that this target is achieved, it has become necessary for all the critical stakeholders to consider and provide contemporary policies that will support the attainment of the above target.

4. It is quite instructive that the theme was carefully chosen to ensure prudent spending of available financial resources in Highways development in the country due to the huge investment governments at all levels are making in road development.

5. The Meeting is significant as it will afford us the desired opportunities to identify challenges in the highways sector and develop strategies towards addressing them.  We are therefore, expected to explore various realistic means of proper utilization of funds and other resources meant for road projects, to enable quick service delivery, which in turn will fast-track national growth and sustainability. May I also stress on the need to ensure that all our recommendations align with the objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of 2017-2019 which focuses on restoring economic growth, ease of doing business, investing in our people and creating a competitive economy.  The achievement of these objectives largely lies on the availability of good road network across the country.

6. Distinguished delegates and officials, the timing of this meeting therefore, is very significant as it affords us the opportunity to think through and make necessary provisions in our various Budgets for the year 2019 and beyond as well as take necessary steps that will ensure money spent on roads impacts on the Nigerian economy, positively.

7. On this note, I once again welcome you all and wish you fruitful deliberations.

8. Thank you.

 

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SPEECHES
16 August, 2018

Ensuring Value For Money In Nigerian Highways Development Being Remarks By Babatunde Raji Fashola, San At The National Council On Works, Held In Kebbi

On behalf of the State Commissioners and other Members of Council, I express the appreciation of the Federal Government of Nigeria to the Government and People of Kebbi State for hosting our Council Meeting and for doing so under very hospitable circumstances, in Birnin Kebbi.

Apart from being the home of famous Emirates like Gwandu, Yauri, Zuru, Argungu to mention a few, Kebbi State has come to the centre stage in Nigeria’s developmental history, especially at this time when Governor Atiku Bagudu is providing visionary, developmental and progressive leadership.

Statesmen, not big men, as former Governors, former Chief Judges have rallied around their Governor and Government to pursue a common goal of development.

From Agriculture, to Roads, Housing to Power, whenever it is partnership for Development, Atiku Bagudu will be found making the strongest case for why Kebbi must be involved. This remarkable and inspiring leadership must be acknowledged.

It is in this environment of developmental focus that we converge for the 24th National Council for Works to discuss development around getting “Value for Money in Nigerian Highways”.

Ladies and gentlemen, I found this topic appealing to this Council because of some of the assumptions that have been made about Cost of Roads in Nigeria, the questions I have had to answer, posed by people who ought to know, and because I hope to generate a more informed conversation about the matter.

It is my expectation that in each State, we will be sufficiently interested to interrogate issues like the source of value, where it lies and how to get the best out of it.

Therefore, I would like to start by asking the question why Nigeria has bad roads after almost a decade of prolific receipts from oil boom when oil prices were at $100 per barrel.

The answer is partly because we did not invest our money in Roads in the way that the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Brazil, to mention a few oil-exporting countries, have done.

To the extent that Roads are assets that live for longer periods of time and deliver collective National Benefit in terms of movement of goods and services and contribution to the GDP, clearly, it is doubtful that we got optimum value for those oil incomes between 2007 and 2015.

In other words, instead of investing our oil receipts in Roads, and long-term assets, of infrastructure, we spent the money on recurrent items of expenditure.

This is clearly discernible from the Annual Federal Budgets of that era, where the maximum provision for Capital Expenditure struggled to exceed 20%, when they seldom went beyond the threshold of 15%; and what was ultimately released by way of cash was scarcely ever in excess of 50%.

The result of these, of course was that by 2015 when I took office, there were over 200 roads whose contract values were in excess of N2 trillion and for which payments had only cumulated to about N500 billion.

Some of these roads had been awarded for upwards of 10 (ten) years. Inadequate budget and funding had delayed their completion. Many sites had been abandoned, workers laid off, equipment grounded.

This was where the Buhari Government picked up. With significantly lower oil incomes, we got the contractors back to site one after the other. We raised the budget size from N4 Trillion to N6 Trillion in 2016 and increased capital spending to 30%; which was funded by borrowing to finance the deficit.

For those who wanted roads to be fixed and those who did not want the nation to borrow, there is no middle ground. You either borrow to invest in tomorrow’s infrastructure at today’s prices, or wait until you can do it tomorrow at tomorrow’s price.

Our reality today is that the roads that were awarded 10 years ago and were not funded then have to be funded at today’s prices of money, interest rates, and at today’s prices of cement, iron rod, laterite and labour wages.

Clearly, we lost not only the value of money not properly invested, we lost value in the cost of doing business without good roads. We lost value in productivity by men and machine that became redundant.

While we cannot recover what is lost, we must not lose what is ahead; in this regard, I am happy to say that the Buhari Government is investing wisely and sensibly in the infrastructure that will drive Nigeria’s tomorrow.

From Rail to Ports, Power and Roads, this administration is resolute in its determination to complete ongoing or abandoned projects. Today, there is no State in Nigeria where the Federal Government of Nigeria is not executing one Road Project.

Hon. Commissioner has confirmed in his address Roads being executed in Kebbi. He wants more , the Buhari Government is ready to do more. It is in your hands to bring him back.

Undoubtedly, we have done more with less. This is the meaning of value. But there are other challenges that we must work together to improve upon in order to remove avoidable costs from Road and related infrastructure development.

A) Land issues, compensation, and court cases compound the cost of construction.

B) Conflicts, security breaches, pose risks to construction workers, which escalates costs in many ways, such as insurance, payment of security personnel, delays to project completion, to mention a few;

C) The absence of uniform Public Sector Procurement Prices;

D) Proper project planning, development and supervision;

E) Post-construction maintenance of scheduled and unscheduled natures to achieve asset life cycle expectation and performance; ( Bridges – Tamburawa, Tatabu, Third Mainland, Niger Bridge, Koton Karfe , Ijora, Isaac Boro).

F) Dispute resolution mechanisms as a means of achieving cost efficiency in road construction and achieving value for money, must be interrogated;

G) Government Treasury Operations and Payment Systems, review and reform will contribute to achieving better value for money in Road Development Project.

H) Increasing local content in Nigeria Road Construction and implementing Presidential Order 5.

Ladies and Gentlemen, these are only some of the items of avoidable costs around which we should have a conversation and a resolution if we are to achieve better value for money.

Each one of them is a full subject of debate in itself.

It is my expectation that many sections of the construction industry will rise up to the challenges inherent in improving each of the areas I have highlighted.

I make myself ready to contribute and participate upon reasonable notice.

Thank you for listening and I wish us very fruitful deliberations.

Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Honourable Minister of Power, Works, and Housing

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Photo News
13 September, 2018

FASHOLA AT THE NATIONAL WORKSHOP ON STRENGTHENING HEALTH RESEARCH CAPACITY IN ABUJA

Hon Minister of Power Works Housing and Chairman NIMR Research FoundationMr Babatunde FasholaSANright being welcomed byDirector GeneralCEO Nigerian Institute of Medical ResearchProf Babatunde Lawal Salakomiddle and Head International Operations Wellcome Trust United Kingdom Dr Simeon Kay left during theNational Workshop on Strengthening Health Research Capacity organized by the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research NIMR at the Sheraton Hotels Towers Abuja on Friday 7thSeptember 2018

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Power News
Photo News
16 October, 2018

A COURTESY CALL AND PRESENTATION OF PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE ON THE DIRECTOR PLANNING RESEARCH AND STATISTICS DEPARTMENT DR FAMOUS S ESEDUWO

A courtesy call and presentation of Prize for Excellence on the Director Planning Research and Statistics Department Dr Famous S Eseduwo by members of African Students Union Parliament ASUP at the Ministrys Headquarter Mabushi Abuja on the 16th of October 2018

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