Fashola Tasks Ministry Management Officials on Team Efforts to Improve Service Delivery

Babatunde Raji Fashola
Minister of Power, Works and Housing. Babatunde Raji Fashola

SOKOTO – (Power, Works & Housing Report) – The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola has tasked top management officials of the ministry and its agencies to imbibe a team spirit by understanding and relating with one another to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in their working relationship and service delivery.

He said this in a keynote address delivered at the 5th edition of the Top Management Retreat of the Ministry with the theme: “Public Service and the Ease of Doing Business” held in Sokoto over the weekend, indicating that the purpose of the retreat was to afford participants the opportunity to review policies and programmes of the Ministry and its agencies with the aim of improving the quality of service offered to the public. He added that a lot more can be done and even better done if there is understanding amongst the officers.

According to him, the retreat provided an opportunity to stand back and reflect on where they were and they have improved as well as look back to see where they can improve upon. He also noted that issues of growth and prosperity should be determined by what they do as they are entrusted to do them.

The Minister inferred that in – spite of the drop in the country’s ranking by one point from 145th to 146th from the World Bank’s ranking which he attributed to competitive improvement by other countries, there has however been a remarkable improvement in the area of ease of doing business in Nigeria with the Presidential Order.

While recounting the growth indices in the three infrastructure sectors of the economy – Power, Transportation and Construction from statistics supplied by the National Bureau of Statistics, Fashola highlighted the growth to the rate of +7.59% in the 2nd quarter of 2018 as against -11.61% in the same period of 2015 in the power sector. He revealed that transportation recorded +21.76% as against +4.84% and construction had a growth of +7.66% as against +6.42% during the same period.

The Minister urged participants to reposition and be proactive in overcoming the challenges and devise strategies to improve on service delivery during the season of the ‘ember months’ taking cognizance of the pressure on infrastructure due to increased activities and movements.

The Permanent Secretary in the Works and Housing Sector of the Ministry, Mohammed Bukar disclosed that the theme of the retreat was apt in view of the administration‘s issuance of Executive Order 001 on the Ease of Doing Business in May 2017. He intensified that the Ministry has keyed into the Order, particularly in the implementation of procurement processes and response time to enquiries and staff matters.

The President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote in his paper presentation which focused on the importance of adequate infrastructure including regular power supply, motor-able roads and affordable housing in the development of the Nigerian economy observed that for the Ministry to make significant impact, it must think “outside the box” on how to fund its project. He implied that the reliance on budgetary allocations is usually grossly inadequate and often not timely released to allow for prompt executions and implementation of projects. Dangote suggested that the funding of the Ministry could be improved upon through collaboration with the private sector and strategic funding such as the SUKUK, levies on petrol, tax credit refund and other innovative funding options for infrastructure.

He further opined that the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria would improve the level of business transaction in the country and position private companies to make more profits and in turn pay more taxes to the government.

Speaking on the Works Sector of the Ministry, he called for the setting up of toll gates, in order to raise funds to ensure proper roads maintenance like the Highway Trust Funds in the United States of America. He mentioned the need to reduce the cost of gas and make it available as well as ensuring that payments are made in naira denomination to local purchases for the power sector for potential massive job creation in the housing sector. He further called for reduction in the cost of house construction, sponsorship of research on the construction of low cost housing and improvement of access to mortgage and private sector partnerships.

In the paper presentation titled: “Repositioning the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency – Plans and Progress” presented by the Managing Director of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Nurudeen Rafindadi (Engr) highlighted efforts by the agency to efficiently maintain and manage all federal roads to keep them in safe and secure condition for the enhancement of the economic well being of Nigerians.

Present at the retreat were the Minister of State II for Power, works & Housing, (Surv), Suleiman Hassan Zarma; the Permanent Secretary for Power, Lious Edozien (Engr); Chief Executives of the Ministry’s Parastatals and Agencies and Directors of the Ministry.