This is Fashola’s agenda for the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing
Speaking yesterday, for the first time in Abuja as the new Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola oulined his plans to reform the ministry. He also revealed his agenda for Nigeria regarding the provision of the 2016 budget. We took a look at some of his plans and statements and assessed how feasible they are.
On issues surrounding power supply, Fashola said “subject to budgetary approvals and financing, the Ministry of Petroleum indicates its ability to build certain critical pipelines to transport gas to the power plants that will add another 2,000 mw to our stock of power within 12-15 months.”
When asked about other plans to boost power transmission the new minister disclosed that “we have identified a total of 142 projects of which 45 are at a 50 percent level of completion and about 22 can be completed within a year.”
According to the former Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, Nigeria needs about 160,000mw of electricity to effectively boast of a stable power supply system, however, only about 4800mw was supplied to the country as at the end of September. Therefore, adding 2000mw of electricity to an additional 3265mw still leaves a large gap to close in the power sector. Also, the current number of incomplete projects involve a great deal of work and until Nigerians see the results of these projects, many are skeptical.
The current minister remarked “this shows that tolling is necessary to support government funding. So, it will not be too much if we ask every road user to pay a little to augment government funding for road maintenance.” He went further to say “it is commonsense for us to find that money. We will use technology; so if you don’t pay cash, you will pay by tokens or tickets and the money is accountable and it will go to the right place. We will manage that fund properly and we will hold those who we put there to account.”
While speaking on the state of Nigerian roads, Fashola revealed the government’s plan to re-introduce tolls to ensure constant funding for the maintenance of this amenity. Fashola knows what he is talking about considering the success he garnered from the introduction of the Lekki tollgate in Lagos while he was the state governor. However, the collection of tolls is not peculiar to Nigeria. The system was abandoned in 2004 due to the poor maintenance of the roads with this feature especially federal roads, which suggested funds were being mismanaged. It remains to be seen if Fashola’s intended use of technology will be able to monitor toll money effectively. He also plans to create jobs for Nigerians through various road construction projects.
On the issue of housing, Fashola noted that “if we complete our ongoing projects and we get land from the governors in all states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to start using the LagosHOMS model, we should begin providing 40 blocks of housing in each state and the FCT.” He also stated that “we see this leading to the potential delivery of 12 flats per block and 480 flats per state, subsequently providing 17,760 flats nationwide, for a start.”
The Federal Government of Nigeria plans on introducing mortgage schemes and Fashola plans on adopting the Lagos state model, specifically Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (LagosHOMS), to achieve this. The LagosHOMS project, has given about 400 people keys to their apartments in Lagos, since it was introduced in March 2014. This scheme was introduced to battle increasing over-population in Lagos state (the state is projected to have a population twofold of what it is now by 2050) and the corresponding increase in rent in Lagos state. The scheme appears to be a success, attracting more customers every day. Nigeria would also benefit from the housing scheme, with projections indicating the country will be the fourth most populated country in the world by 2050.
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