Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), yesterday said that federal government had awarded 671 road contracts covering about 13,000 kilometres across the country.
He added that the government was also embarking on massive infrastructure upgrade nationwide.
Mr. Fashola who spoke in Ilorin yesterday during the 10th Convocation of an Islamic faith university, Al- Hikmah University, Ilorin, Kwara State, said that “here is a current investment in infrastructure expansion. Nigeria has to build a new base of infrastructure to deal with our growing population.”
The minister, who was the guest speaker, at the event on ‘How University Education Fosters Entrepreneurship’ said that, “I am convinced that inherent in Nigeria’s current developmental challenges certainly lie enormous opportunities.
“So where is Nigeria now? I say to you that Nigeria is also witnessing an expanded investment commitment to infrastructure upgrade of a type not seen since perhaps, what took place after the civil war.
“The construction of rail tracks; expansion of five international airports, new seaport, 671 road contracts covering 13,000 kilometres nationwide point to a clear determination to reduce the infrastructure deficits that hinder growth and efficiency of business.
“Perhaps, in order to bring the scope and size of the commitment closer home, it might interest to know that the federal government is currently undertaking the construction of several roads. And in Kwara alone, the total number of roads under construction today is 602.4 kilometres. Some of the roads include the dualisation of
Ilorin-Jebba-Bukani; Ilorin-Kabba-Obajan; Ilorin-Omu-Aran-Egbe; Share-Patigi and New Busa-Kaiama.
“All these construction works necessarily propel demand for increased activities in the mining subsector. And this I am addressing specifically to the graduates and undergraduates in this university.”
He added that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration “through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bank of Industry (BoI), Ministry of Industry,
Trade and Investment and other ministries, departments and agencies of the federal and state governments were offering support.
“In the agriculture sector, the CBN has disbursed N92.9 billion to 24,702 beneficiaries; the Anchor Borrowers’ programme totalling N163.9 billion has reached 954,279 beneficiaries.
“The government is rolling out temporary labour based work to 774 local governments through the Ministry of Labour and Employment under the aegis of National Directorate of Employment.
“The social infrastructure and welfare scheme has been expanded by the creation of N150 billion targeted credit facilities for households and small businesses. Already N149.21 billion has been disbursed to 360, 869 beneficiaries.
“There is a survival fund to help small businesses affected by COVID-19 to pay salaries of their staff for a period of three months.
The fund targets 500,000 individual beneficiaries and it will soon start going out to support payroll of the beneficiaries between N50,000 maximum and N30,000 minimum to between three and 10 staff for three months.
“Through the new Corporate Affairs law the plan is on to help 250,000 small businesses start on their own in entrepreneurship and the idea is that their registration will be at no cost for them”.