Transport: FG Targets 50,000 Jobs from Highway Dev Initiative, Says Fashola

Kasim Sumaina in Abuja

The federal government’s has said that its Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI) is expected to create 50,000 direct and over 200,000 indirect jobs,

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, made the disclosure at a just-ended national conference on transportation infrastructure development financing in Nigeria, in Abuja.

The conference, organised by the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology, Zaria, Tagged, “Sustainable Funding for Transport Infrastructure Development in Nigeria,” is to sought ways to sustain funding for transport infrastructure in Nigeria.

Fashola stated that road transportation accounts for 95% of all freight and passenger movement in Nigeria, making it a strategic economic tool for Nigeria’s economic growth and prosperity.

He stressed that federal government’s ongoing road works present ample opportunities for investors.

According to the minister, HDMI “is expected to, among other things, utilise private sector funds to bring about order, accountability and attract sustainable investment and funding in the development of road infrastructure and maximize the use of assets along the Federal Highways Right of Way (RoW).”

Under the government’s Value Added Concession (VAC), he added, “75 investors submitted bids for the Request for Qualification. 18 of the firms have been shortlisted for the next stage of the procurement process Request for Proposal (RFP).

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Mrs. Zainab Ahmed who presented the lead paper, opined that infrastructure investment required continuous maintenance and replenishment of the infrastructure stock of any country.

Acting Managing Director/CEO, The Infrastructure Bank PLC, Ross Oluyede as well as the Acting DG, ICRC, Mr. Mike Ohiani identified financial institutions as key to reducing the huge infrastructure deficit in Nigeria, lamenting that sole financing by government has led to an increasingly large budget deficits for transport infrastructure.

Director, Transport Infrastructure Department, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr. Emmanuel Onwodi said adopting PPP in transportation infrastructure development would ensure increasing infrastructure stocks as public financial resources.

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