The Federal Government has said it is investing massively in road construction, public housing and other infrastructure as part of measures to take the country out of recession.
It said it had released funds for the payment of debts owed contractors, noting that this had led to the return of most of them to project sites and resulting in the re-engagement of workers who were earlier laid off.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who said this at the annual conference of the Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja, noted that the Federal Government was committed to taking concrete measures to boost the sectors.
The conference had as its theme: ‘The role of quantity surveying in development of the Nigerian economy’.
Fashola, who was represented by the Director, Quantity Surveyors in the ministry, Dickson Onoja, argued that a revitalised building and construction sector was capable of not only increasing the national infrastructure stock, but would also have huge multiplier effects, and in the process, create massive employment and wealth, thereby, boosting economic prosperity.
He said, “This administration, more than any other in recent times, has taken concrete measures to bridge the infrastructure deficit in Nigeria in the belief that the development of a nation’s infrastructure impacts positively on its economy.
“Government believes that massive government investment and expenditure in infrastructure is one sure way of quickly taking Nigeria out of recession. Government, has accordingly, voted massive funds for construction projects in the road and housing sectors. Funds have been released for the payment of debts owed contractors, which has seen the return of most of them to site, resulting in the re-engagement of workers who had earlier been laid off.
“Anyone who takes his or her time to go round the country at this time will notice that Federal Government’s construction projects have regained their momentum and the project sites are, once again, alive and thriving.”
The minister solicited the involvement of professionals, especially quantity surveyors, in the ongoing projects, noting that with the current downturn in government revenues, there was a need to ensure that the little funds available were efficiently utilised.
“The high cost of construction projects is a major challenge, which requires the skills and knowledge of quantity surveyors, as construction cost experts, to address,” Fashola stressed.
The President, QSRBN, Husaini Dikko, in his remarks, said the surveying professionals would intervene to minimise the cost of construction given the current economy situation in the country.
Dikko, while highlighting the negative impact of the current recession, said the nation might need to borrow heavily to balance its annual budget, especially the capital expenditure.