I Am Not Fighting With National Assembly – Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has said that he is not fighting with the National Assembly but only had a mere misunderstanding with them.

Mr Fashola told State House correspondents on Tuesday that his disagreements with the lawmakers over the ministry’s budget should not be misconstrued as a personal fight but one geared towards finding best ways to implement the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

The arguments began when the minister criticised the National Assembly for allegedly inserting projects outside the purview of his ministry in its budget and slashing allocation for key projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in the 2017 Appropriation Act.

“There is no problem between me, as an individual, and the National Assembly. And let me make that very clear, many of the Senators and honourable members are my personal friends. So, you don’t fight your friends,” he said.

Mr Fashola, however, admitted that there is a disagreement between him and the lawmakers.

According to him, the disagreement had to do with the Economic Recover Growth Plan launched by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He explained that although the leadership of the National Assembly expressed “enormous support” for the plan, there is a disagreement over how to implement it.

“Now, there is also a disagreement, which I don’t think should make us disagreeable, about the best way to implement that plan. And I think that is all that there is to it,” he said.

The minister added that while the posture or manner in which both parties had approached the issue may give an impression that they were fighting, that was not the case.

“It is, perhaps, possible that in the heat of the moment, while trying to canvass our different positions, we are misconstrued as fighting but I am not fighting anybody,” he said.

“I have a disagreement; it shouldn’t make us disagreeable. And the way I see it, even in homes, between husband and wife, there are disagreements about which school their children should go to, how much to pay for education, how much to spend on food. That doesn’t mean they reach out for the divorce courts.”

Stressing that the lawmakers also represent him as a citizen and his role is to engage them for the growth of the country, Mr Fashola said, “This is the issue really. So, even if I have been misunderstood, my intention is not to quarrel with anybody but to see a better Nigeria, which I am sure they also want to see.”

Budget: Fashola Criticises Goje, Says Issues Raised Shouldn’t be Trivialized

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has criticised the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, for his comments concerning complaints the minister made about the input of the National Assembly in his ministry’s budget.

Fashola and the lawmakers have traded accusations since late June when he accused the National Assembly of unilaterally slashing budgetary allocation for key projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the 2nd Niger Bridge.

Although the National Assembly had issued a statement describing the minister’s complaints as an attempt to blackmail the legislature, its members have continued to react to the issue and other disagreements with the executive.

During the Senate’s plenary on Wednesday, one day after the House of Representatives summoned the minister to defend his comments, Goje described the lawmakers as patriotic Nigerians and urged Fashola to behave like a minister or resign if he felt overwhelmed by his responsibilities.

Senator Danjuma Goje

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The minister, however, fired back on Thursday in a statement by his Special Adviser on Communications, Mr Hakeem Bello.

According to Fashola, Senator Goje’s reference to the patriotism of legislators should not be spoken but demonstrated with regard to his calls for a more developmental budgeting approach.

“In this context, it is left for Nigerians to then decide whether budgeting for constituency roads is more patriotic than budgeting to complete the Kano-Maiduguri Road that connects five states, the Lagos-Ibadan road that connects three states and helps to move food, imported goods and fuel across the country; or the 2nd Niger Bridge that connects the East and West geopolitical zones of at least 11 states together,” he said.

“I will also leave Nigerians to judge whether it is more patriotic to budget for the Mambilla Power Project that will contribute to more power across Nigeria or reduce the budget to build street lights in legislative constituencies.”

He added that he expected the lawmakers to respond to the issues he raised rather than accuse him of blackmailing the legislature.

“Let me reiterate that I see parliament as a house where very vigorous debates about development should take place and it is important for Goje to acquire the temperament of debate and disagreement,” he said.

On the Senator’s comments about his behaviour, he said, “I think first that the language is unparliamentary and therefore not deserving of a reply.”

Noting that Goje, a former governor of Gombe State, and some other lawmakers transited from the executive arm of government to the legislative arm, Fashola said, “It seems that it is such people who need a behavioural prescription about legislative function.”

He explained that his comments about the budget were as a result of his desire to function effectively.

“I need a better budget as a tool to do my work and that is why l am speaking out,” he said.

House Of Reps Summons Fashola Over Comments On Budget

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The House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, over comments he made about the input of the lawmakers in the 2017 Budget.

The lawmakers, who had last week described comments by the minister as calculated mischief, now want him to come and defend his reaction to the budget.

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Fashola’s Comments On 2017 Budget ‘Calculated Mischief’ – Reps

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The House of Representatives has criticised the Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), for his comments on the input of the National Assembly on the 2017 budget.
Mr Fashola had on Thursday, during an interactive session with editors, decried what he said was the reduction of allocation for projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the 2nd Niger Bridge by the National Assembly.

He also lamented the insertion of projects such as primary healthcare centres and boreholes in the budget after the budget defence.

“If after we have defended the budget and we had gone and the legislature unilaterally changed the budget, what is the purpose of deliberation?’’ he was quoted as saying.

Babatunde Fashola on Housing
Fashola

But the House of Representatives, in a statement by the Chairman of its Committee On Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, said minister’s comments were part of “the pattern adopted by elements in the executive arm of government to delegitimise the 2017 Appropriation Act”, which was signed into law by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

National Assembly Won’t Be A Rubber Stamp, Lawmakers Reply Osinbajo

Insisting that the Minister’s comments contained “fundamental inaccuracies”, the House of Reps said they were part of “the obvious attempt to blackmail the National Assembly, paint it as an irresponsible institution not concerned with the welfare of the people, and set the Executive and Legislature on an unnecessary collision course on matters of power rather than issues that benefit the Nigerian people”.

The House of Reps also explained the reasons behind its decisions with regard to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the 2nd Niger Bridge.

The statement read in part, “To the specific issues raised, it is very misleading and calculated mischief to simply say that N5 billion was taken from the budget for 2nd Niger Bridge. The truth is that in the 2016 Budget, N12 billion was appropriated for the 2nd Niger Bridge and not a Kobo was spent by the Ministry. Not a Kobo. The money was returned. The Ministry could not provide the Committees of the National Assembly with evidence of an agreement on the Public Private Partnership (PPP) or a contract for the 2nd Niger Bridge.

“The National Assembly, in its wisdom decided to fund other projects from the South East leaving N7 billion for the 2nd Niger Bridge that may yet be UNSPENT. The projects include – N2.5 billion extra for Enugu/Onitsha Road, N1 billion more for 9th Mile/Nsukka/Makurdi Road; additional N500m for Oturkpa- Makurdi to take care of evacuation of agricultural produce up to Maiduguri; N1 billion more for Ikot Ekpene-Aba-Owerri Road etc. These are strategic Roads in the South-East and North Central parts of Nigeria that had inadequate allocations.

“The National Assembly had to intervene to fund some other critical roads that were totally neglected in the Executive Budget proposal. An example is the Abuja- Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Road that had Zero allocation from the President’s proposal and no contract even in spite of due process certification. N5 billion was provided in the 2016 Budget. It was not utilised.

“In 2017 Budget, the National Assembly again provided N3 billion for this very critical road that connects many states and where incidents of kidnapping are rife because of bad roads, as we believe that all parts of Nigeria deserve attention or would the Minister also claim that this road has no design?

“On the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, leadership meetings of both the Executive and Legislature were held where it was clarified that alternative funding exists for the Road through PPP arrangement and the concessionaires had enough money to fund the project. That informed the decision to move some funds to other areas of need and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing is fully aware of this but chose to ignore it. Why spend government money if there is a clear existing funding framework in place and so many ongoing road projects are unfunded?”

“On the Mambila Power Project, the Minister proposed a whopping N17 billion for only Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). N17 billion! The National Assembly felt that N17 billion for EIA was misplaced and patently unjustifiable! The Minister himself even wrote to the National Assembly to move some funds from this sub-heads to others!”

10,000 Megawatts By 2019 Is Still Achievable – Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said that the 10,000 megawatts target given by the Buhari administration, needed to supply the country with adequate electricity by the end of 2019 is still achievable.

He stated that the public is not bothered about how much energy is gotten on the grid but how accessible energy is.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Fashola revealed that “Sometimes when we sustain energy over 4,000 or 5,000 the feedback I get suggests to me that if we added a little more, we might as well be getting a little closer, but we must continue to work harder.

Comparing Electricity Distributed In 2015 And 2016

Mr Fashola noted that on May 29, 2015, the amount of power available on the grid was 2,690 megawatts while on May 29, 2017, the amount was 4,014 megawatts.

He also added that in February 2016 the power grew to 5,074 megawatts

Mr Fashola attributed the drop in power due to attacks on the pipeline, “We have had 16 consecutive attacks on the pipeline since we grew to 5,074 megawatts.

He also noted that some of these damages done to the pipeline that supplies electricity are poor metering from the estimation of electricity consumers, resulting from tariff rates.

He however stated that the government alone can not do all the work,while he enjoined the private sector to assist the government in ensuring the target is met.

 

Fashola Inaugurates Rural Electrification Project In Zamfara

Federal Government Not Competing With Any State – FasholaThe Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has inaugurated a rural electrification and semi-urban water project in Bakura, Talata-Mafara and Gusau Local Government Areas of Zamfara State.

During the inauguration, he also reaffirmed the Federal Government’s resolve to implement the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan through the provision of basic infrastructure across the country.

The inauguration was part of activities to mark the sixth year anniversary of the Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari.

The works minister also commended the state government’s investment drive in the provision of infrastructure.

The governor on his part, noted that the commissioning of the projects is one that is geared towards uplifting the lives of hundreds of communities.

He, therefore, urged beneficiaries to guard the facilities and desist from vandalism.

Fashola Optimistic About 6,000 Megawatts Power Generation

fashola1The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, says Nigeria’s current power generation will rise to 6,000 megawatts if the damaged oil pipelines in the Niger delta are restored.

The minister was speaking at the monthly Power Sector and Stakeholders Meeting, which took place at the Olorunsogo injection sub-station of the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IEDC).

Mr Fashola added that he is confident that the acting president’s on-going consultations in the Niger Delta to stem the tide of pipeline vandalism would yield favourable results.

A group that calls themselves the Niger Delta Avengers have claimed responsibility for attacks on oil and gas facilities in the region, gradually dipping the nation’s oil production which had hit 2.4 million barrels per day in the post-amnesty era.

For a nation that depends largely on sales of crude oil for its revenue, a drop in production at a time of volatile oil prices is a huge threat to the her economy.

This is why the acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has assured the Niger Delta  region of the Federal Government’s readiness to genuinely draw a roadmap, that will  lead to the peace and development of oil producing states.

This was equally the primary focus of the meeting he had with government officials and traditional rulers in Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State, Bayelsa state, where he visited in the last couple of days as well as Rivers state, where he visited on Monday, February 13.

Fashola Assesses Apapa-Ijora Bridge Project, Says Rail To Provide Alternative

Fashola, apapa-ijora bridgeThe Federal Government is doing all within its power to ensure heavy cargo is moved from ports using the railways, a top government official has said.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, told reporters in Apapa over the weekend that the rail system would provide reliable alternative for movement of heavy goods from the ports to other parts of Nigeria.

The Minister was in Lagos to inspect the abandoned bridge and trailer park in Apapa dedicated to trucks.

He also viewed ongoing work along the Apapa-Ijora Bridge, where he asked the contractor to come up with a comprehensive engineering evaluation of the bridge to allow for quick maintenance, repair and reconstruction.

Mr Fashola told reporters that the bridge repairs were being undertaken to ensure adequate security and improve users’ experience.

“We are looking at how we can change the structure of the bridge and also help to improve the security of the area.

“The commuter experience in this area is also something we want to improve.

“We are waiting for the final details and hoping that we will get them in good enough time so that we can then make budgetary and appropriation proposal for them to start the work in full speed next year. 

A 240 metre bridge project was awarded in 2009, with the bridge set aside for heavy duty vehicles returning to port, but it is still under construction in 2016.

“We have not finished it. There is no money. We did not fund it at the time were were earning over $100 per barrel of oil. The contractors have left site.

“The meetings I have been having with them is to bring them back to work.

“Unfortunately, the appropriation did not deal with it this years. I hope that it will next year,” the Minister stated.

He expressed optimism that the government would be able to revive the old rail tracks and open it up for movement of cargoes.

Fashola Urges Oshiomhole To Complete Ongoing Projects

fasholaFormer Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has advised Governor Adams Oshiomhole to shun the temptation of initiating new development projects in Edo State unless they are very critical to the well-being of the people.

He advised him to concentrate on completing ongoing projects before the end of his tenure in November 2016.

Fashola was Guest Speaker at a 3-day retreat for members of Edo State Executive Council and Permanent Secretaries holding at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja to brainstorm and re-strategise on raising the bar on governance in the state, with the theme, “Finishing Well”.

He said that it was practically impossible for any administration to initiate and complete all projects needed by the people in the state.

He also said that despite being one of the best administrations Edo had ever got, he should expect criticisms from people after he leaves office.

Gov. Ambode Dissolves Boards Of Parastatals And Agencies

In ambodea bid to restructure his administration, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has approved the dissolution of all boards of parastatals and agencies of government in the state.

The dissolution takes immediate effect.

In a statement released by his Chief Press Secretary, Governor Ambode, stated that the Civil Service Commission, the Judicial Service Commission and the State Independent Electoral Commission are exempted.

The Governor commended the modest contributions of the members of the dissolved boards, just as he wished them well in their future endeavours.

Meanwhile, the Governor has approved the appointment of Mrs. Abimbola Shukrat Umar as the new Accountant-General of the state and Permanent Secretary in the State Treasury Office.

Prior to her new appointment, Mrs. Umar was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Ambode Visits Police Command, Reviews Insurance Compensation

Akinwumi-Ambode-Lagos-APCThe Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Friday paid his first visit to the State Police Command where he announced the approval for the upward review of insurance compensation for Police Officers serving in the state.

Announcing the review at the Oduduwa Police Command in Ikeja area of the State, the Governor during an interaction with Divisional Police Officers and Area Commanders in the state, said that the compensation which covers death and permanent disability to Police officers in the line of duty was last reviewed 16 years ago.

Before the review, Senior Police Officers received insurance compensation of N2million, Inspectors, and N1.5million while officers in Rank and File are entitled to N1million.

The upward review of the compensation value is; Senior Police Officers, N5million; Inspectors, N3million and Rank and File N2million respectively.

The Governor stressed that the gesture was borne out of the state’s appreciation of the hazards associated with policing, adding that the value of the compensation had become grossly inadequate.

The Governor seized the occasion to seek the support and cooperation of police officers in facilitating the strict enforcement of the Lagos State Law on Protection Against Violence, 2007, as well as the Criminal Laws of Lagos, 2011, in his renewed effort to wage war against domestic violence against women and rape.

“By doing that, we will be sending a strong signal of zero tolerance to such barbaric acts and also conveying a message of assurance to our women of our commitment to their protection,” the Governor said.

Governor Ambode, who was earlier received by the State Commissioner of Police, (CP) Mr. Kayode Aderanti at the Lagos Police Command, thanked the Command for the efforts in keeping the peace in the state in the last eight years, urging them not to rest on their oars.

The Governor particularly commended the Police for their role in ensuring peaceful conduct of the 2015 general elections in the state, assuring them that the government will continue to put the constraints and concerns of the Force in the front burner.

“I consider it compelling to again seek your robust partnership and collaboration as we advance the cause for a safe and secure Lagos State. As 21st Century Police Officers, you are expected to scale up your skills and professional conduct in a manner that the citizens will see you as true friends who will not compromise integrity and forthrightness,” the Governor said.

Thanking the Governor for the visit, the CP Kayode Aderanti said it was a testament to the commitment of his (Governor) administration to make the security of lives and property in a state a top priority.

The CP said it was the first time a Governor of the State would be visiting the State Police Commissioner’s Office.

“The visit is not only historic because it is your first but more so the speed at which you visited.

“We have had cause to meet and discuss the security of Lagos within the last one week and the impression I have gotten from you all through our meetings is that of a man who wants to turn the fortunes of the State Command around for the better,” Aderanti said.

Fashola Announces 83 Per Cent 2014 Budget Performance

The Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, fasholahas announced a 83-per cent cumulative performance for the 2014 Budget.

The performance represents the accomplished Budget in the first, second, third and fourth quarters of the year which stood at 67 per cent, 106 per cent, 84 per cent and 77 per cent respectively.

Addressing a press conference at the Lagos State House, Ikeja, Governor Fashola also announced that the fourth quarter budget performance stood at 77 per cent, saying the impact of the fourth quarter performance of the budget was already visible across the State in projects such as, the completed court buildings in Epe and Ikeja.

Governor Fashola also said that other projects that benefitted from the fourth quarter budget were the solar projects in primary health institution, primary schools, progress in road works across the state such as Agiti, Isheri-Oshun bridge behind Jakande Estate which are completed.

On the priorities of his administration in its last days, Governor Fashola promised to continue to do more of what the administration have done in order to close strongly.

“As I said before, in the rain and in the sun we will continue to provide service; that is the role of government.”

Governor Fashola listed other areas of priority to include settling as many obligations as it could, “in spite of the difficult financial situation,” to contractors to accelerate and complete more on-going projects.

Fashola also declared:  “We are issuing more contracts to support small businesses. We are in procurement now for maintenance contracts for about 606 schools which are contracts that range between N2 million and N5 million for small businesses”.

He said that beneficiaries would be graduates from the State’s technical and vocational centres who have formed small companies, and members of the society who bid for the contracts as well as those who show “demonstrable capacity”.