NIGERIA’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Monday, in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, said contractors had resumed work in not less than five major Federal Government road projects.
The minister disclosed this at the South-South region town hall meeting hosted by his ministry to give account of stewardship of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to the people.
Mohammed specifically said Julius Berger and RCC had returned to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, while the CGC had started work on the Bode Sadu-Jebba Road and the Abuja-Lokoja Road.
He said China Company, CCECC, had also been mobilised to the Kano-Maiduguri Road, while RCC again had resumed work at the Loko and Oweto Bridge linking Nasarawa and Benue.
The minister added that the Second Niger Bridge was in the 2016 budget and work was expected to start soon.
He noted that with the resumption of work at the sites, government had started putting Nigerians back to work, in fulfillment of its promise to create jobs.
He said “as contractors are mobilised back to various road construction projects across the country, building and ancillary workers are returning to work in droves. Let me list some of the road construction works that have now resumed.
“As more and more road construction works resume in the days ahead, thousands of Nigerians will also be returning to work.”
The minister said government had also commenced the process of recruiting and training 500,000 teachers, specifically targeting unemployed university graduates.
He said the online recruitment, through the portal, npower.gov.ng, came on stream at the weekend.
Mohammed said an agreement had been signed to reposition the River Basin Development Authorities within the next 18 to 24 months.
According to him, the agreement signed with the Songhai Farms of Benin Republic included training of unemployed youths in integrated farm practice.
“This programme is complimentary to the forthcoming Youth Agriculture Empowerment Programme being planned by Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.”
The minister assured that the process of every employment opportunity by the government would be made transparent.
On the economy, he said government was working to provide fresh, but conditional financial support for states, many of which have been finding it difficult to pay their workers’ salaries.
“This will be a follow-up to such support – call it bailout if you like – which the Federal Government gave to the states last year.
“This will go a long way in ensuring industrial peace and providing succor to thousands of Nigerians and their dependents,” he said.
He then thanked the host governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, for the warm reception and immense support to the success of the town hall meeting.
He said “this is the first time we are holding this town hall meeting in a state that is not controlled by our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and we are surely not disappointed.
“You have proven that though we may not share the same political platform, we all believe in the oneness of this country.
“You have set a good example that we hope all others will follow.
“It has lent credence to the statement by President Buhari, that he will be the president of all Nigerians, including those who voted for him and those who did not,” he said.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, who was at the meeting, told the audience that the 2016 budget of the Federal Government “is unique and restructured completely from the past.”
He said 30 per cent of the budget was allocated to capital project compared to last year’s budget, which had only 11 per cent capital.
The minister also said that N250 billion was voted for road projects compared to N18 billion voted in 2015 budget.
He said the government had built strategic implementation plans with 24 measurable actions to ensure the execution of the budget.