The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has stated that a lot of job opportunities would be opened up for craftsmen by the Buhari-led administration through its massive infrastructure development programmes aimed at catalysing rapid economic growth across the country.
The minister, who was delivering his speech at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Skills Expo and Construction and Artisans Award in Abuja said in the quest to bridge the infrastructure gap, there was no one single state in the country at present where at least one federal road was not under rehabilitation or construction.
He noted that under the National Housing Scheme pilot programme, various number of housing units were designed for construction in the 34 states that made available land for the project, adding that about 90 electricity transmission substations and over one hundred injection substations were being built, and the people working there include engineers and artisans.
The award which was sponsored by a real estate development project, Construction Skills Training and Empowerment Project Ltd/Gtte (C-STEmp) resulted from competitions organised at the state and zonal levels across the country in which the various categories of artisans including tilers, carpenters, masons, iron benders, plumbers, etc. participated with the grand finale being held at the Old Parade Ground in Abuja on Wednesday.
“What Buhari has now done in order to ensure that people like you are gainfully employed is that he recently signed Executive Order 5, the sum and substance of which is that any job relating to skilled building, construction, technical work that a Nigerian can do must be given to him in preference to a foreigner, and my ministry has told all our contractors that on all our construction sites we will apply the executive order.”
He also pointed out that other gigantic project such as the Mambilla Power Plant in Taraba State would definitely provide different kinds of skilled job for artisans when works resume on the site.
“The Mambilla Power Project in Tarawa State calls for construction of other facilities also. On that project alone, we are going to need about 18 million bags of cement.
“The same project will require 18 tonnes of aggregate and about 42, 000 tonnes of steel to build. In that way many of you will be involved in the value chain.
“The bottom line is that , many jobs will be created and many people will be employed,” he said.
Highlight of the event was when the overall award winner who was referred to as the star artisan in the country, Ahmad Yusuf Kada (electrical) was presented a
check of N1 million in addition to the N500, 000 cash prize he got at the categories level.