By Henry Umoru
ABUJA— SENATE President, Dr Bukola Saraki, has urged all the government agencies at all levels to henceforth use locally made equipment in road construction and rehabilitation.
He also called on government agencies at all levels to integrate Nigerian engineers, technicians and artisans in their workforce when embarking on construction projects as that would help in the utilization of local capacity as well as conserve scarce foreign exchange.
Speaking, weekend, when he flagged off massive roads construction in Zamfara State and projects being executed by Governor Abdul’aziz Yari, Saraki noted that the 8th National Assembly was on the verge of passing the Federal Roads Authority Bill and the National Road Fund Bill into law to promote a safe and efficient management of the nation’s road networks.
The project includes the Dauran-Birnin, Tsaba Birnin and Magaji Kauran Namoda Roads in Zamfara State.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, the Senate President, noted that the new laws, when enacted, would open opportunities for alternative funding mechanisms from the private sector that will guarantee continuous improvement of the quality of the nation’s highways year in year out.
He said: “As we are about to begin this massive road construction, I hope that our Nigerian engineers, technicians and artisans have been and will continue to be incorporated in the workforce at all the different stages of construction; and that we also employ the use of locally-made equipment where possible.”
“This will boost local content and reinforce our drive in the National Assembly for increased patronage of made-in-Nigeria goods.”
It is expected that this avenue will provide a trickle-down effect on the socio-economic activities of Zamfara State.”
Saraki, who lauded the Zamfara State governor, Abdul’aziz Yari for commencing the project despite limited resources, said: “Indeed, to take up such a gigantic project in this period with such limited resources coming into the state makes an unmistakable statement that leadership and governance is all about commitment to the course of lifting our people from poverty and suffering.
“No doubt, the construction of a reliable road network is one of the fastest ways of moving people, goods and services for growth and development. This project is commendable because Zamfara State plays a very important role in food production in Nigeria and neighbouring West African countries.”