The Director Highway Planning and Development, Engr. Chukwunwike O. Uzo has posited that road construction creates numerous employment opportunities. He made this assertion during a one day federal highway stakeholders’ seminar, in Abuja. This happens when contractors on site pay their workers and the workers patronize those offering ancillary services at construction sites.
He said they got N12bn funding in 2015 out of a budget of N20bn from the federal government. And have been making judicious use of the fund. He noted that the sector expect the public invest around N100mn through SUKUK funding.
According to him progress in terms of areas covered is measurable. “Now we measure the length of road achieved. Let’s say you go to Lagos-Ibadan, it is not how it was last year that it is how they have gained more progress. If you go to Enugu-Onitsha, it is not how it was last year that it is now. They have gained more progress”, he said. This he said started in 2015.
He explained how the public benefit from the ongoing road works across the nation thus; “The public is benefitting through employment. You need to go to any construction site; you see a micro economic integration at stake. People selling food, they are selling to the labourers, to the workers who are working on the site. People who are selling recharge card. These people are earning their salary and are buying from them, even clothes, even shoes. You go on any pay day to those contractors site, you will see all types of wares, food, apparels and nonperishable items. If those workers were not being paid, these people selling would have their goods remained with them. So that is how Nigeria moved out of recession”.
He further explained that strategic roads are captured under priority programmes. He said they fall under budgetary allocation and all are in the plan. That is, national priority 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. He maintained that any road that is a federal road is the responsibility of the federal government. “But what has happened in the past was that some state governments did some federal roads. They rehabilitated some federal roads and now ask for reimbursement from the federal government. As it is now there is a committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari. It is chaired by the Hon. Minister for power, works and housing. That committee has gone round to verify these works and all the claims by the states have been forwarded to the bureau of public procurement” he added.