The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, has claimed that the All Progressives Congress-led government inherited a N450 billion debt owed contractors and state governments by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He said that the debts were not paid for almost three to five years, claiming that the situation compelled the affected contractors to lay off thousands of their workers and shut down equipment and plants.
Fashola, who spoke recently at the South-West Town Hall Meeting organized by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in Ibadan, Oyo state, said that was one of the reasons the economy first went into recession and for the party to concede defeat.
He said through infrastructure commitment, President Muhammadu Buhari was driving the economy vehicle in the ‘right direction’.
Fashola, who compared the 16 years ruled of the PDP and the three years tenure of President Buhari said: “What was left behind were massive debts owed to contractors who had not been paid for 3 to 5 years and who had laid off thousands of workers and shut down equipment and plants.
“That was one of the reasons why the economy first went into recession, and, I suspect, one of the reasons they quickly conceded defeat. They also left behind debts owed to state governments who were forced to intervene on federal infrastructure especially roads and bridges. That figure stands at about N450 Billion’’
On what the projects being executed, he said: “We are constructing houses in 34 states in a pilot scheme to determine affordability and acceptability; and we have 90 transmission projects aimed at improving connectivity between the GenCos and the DisCos who serve yo
“Those of you from Ondo and environs will agree that although the work is not finished, your travel time on the Benin-Ore-Sagamu road has reduced. Our contractor is on site and has to work while you use the road. The same is true of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway that connects three states of Lagos, Ogun and Oyo; and links to Ondo and beyond.
“Those of you who use the road will acknowledge that you no longer have to spend the night on the road. You can go to Ibadan from Lagos and be sure that you can return on the same day.
“Yet we have not finished. Please as you prepare to choose next year, remember those long hours on Benin-Ore, Lagos-Ibadan that sometimes stretched into the Night. Do you want to go back ?
“Ask yourself if progress on these roads in 3 years is better than what you have seen over 16 years. It will help you decide who to choose to ensure that the road is finished, and you can move forward.
“Also remember those who presided over the cuts in the budget of these roads in the 2017 budget. As they plan to frustrate and slow down the Buhari government, the president innovates and finds solutions.
“On the housing side, as I said we are in every state including all the states of the South West except Lagos. Each site employs not less than 1,000 people made up of builders, artisans, fabricators, and vendors and we plan to do much more. Through this infrastructure commitment, the President and the government is driving the economy vehicle in the right direction.
“But it is not just travel time reduction, and economic growth that is impacted, the number of road traffic accidents, injuries and loss of lives are reducing month by month as FRSC figures from June and July 2018 show. While the biggest cause of accidents remains speed violations’’.