By Chris Ochayi
The Federal Government, yesterday, announced its plans to spend about N40.3 billion on the reconstruction of nine public buildings which it said are currently in bad shape.
Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, who disclosed this in Abuja, said the projects would be executed under the National Maintenance Framework for public buildings recently approved by the Federal Executive Council, FEC.
The buildings according to the minister include; the prison, court, federal secretariat, hospital, a federal government college and four of blocks of building in the ministry of Power, Works and Housing including the power house.
Fashola, who said the projects, would generate employment as well as to boost the economy said, “This is the economy that we see ahead as we set out to implement this approval starting from buildings, and as I said, and extending to roads, rail, bridges etc. as we progress.
“Our pilot programme covered nine buildings comprising a Federal government college, a Federal Hospital, a Federal Court building, a federal prison, a federal secretariat and our office buildings at our headquarters here in Mabushi.
“The pilot survey showed that these nine buildings will cost N40.3 billion to reconstruct, while it will cost N922.8m per annum to maintain them which is about 2.3 % of the cost of replacement.
“Just these nine buildings will require about 448 people to keep them well maintained a year. For example, the school will require at least 30 people to be employed per school for maintenance; and the federal government owns 104 Unity schools which potentially will require 30 X 104 = 3,120.
“So you can see the economy we see when this extends to all our hospitals, all our courts, all our prisons, all our police stations, all our universities and covers all public buildings.
“This is an economic choice by this government to drive the small business sector, to drive skill utilization and to move the economy from growth without jobs to growth driven by new jobs that reward services.”
The minister recalled that, “But as if this was not enough, President Buhari raised the bar for construction, services and a new way of life for Nigerians when he signed the law to protect people living with disability from discrimination and exclusion.
“We have five years to comply, and this requires that all our buildings must have lifts and ramps. (By this I mean well designed ramps for people confined to their wheelchairs, not hills they cannot use on their own).
“We must modify all our toilets with support for our brothers and sisters who are living with disabilities, as we must build sidewalks for them to use our roads without colliding with vehicles.
“Our airports and parking lots in buildings must become compliant with international best practice by providing corridors and facilities for people living with disabilities at arrival and departure points, while a minimum number of slots clearly designated must be provided for vehicles owned by people living with disabilities.
“This is another opportunity for jobs to re-design, to re-model, to retrofit all our assets nationwide to comply with the law as signed by Mr President.”
He stressed further that, “This is the Nigeria that beckons upon us from today and the immediate future. A Nigeria where public infrastructure works because they are maintained.
“A Nigeria where everybody has a secure sense of belonging because they can use their skills and labour to earn a decent income and retain their dignity.
“A Nigeria where government cares for the people living with disability by providing the basic minimum facilities that gives them a sense of belonging to demonstrate their ability.
“Government has taken the leadership role to provide the policy and the how to make this Nigeria possible.
It is now your responsibility and mine to take ownership of this platform of opportunities and make it work for all of us.”