Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The Federal Government will employ 47,000 people to fix federal roads across the country, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said.
According to him, the government already has a plan to make this work, adding that it would collaborate with the National Assembly to implement the idea.
Fashola disclosed this at a stakeholders’ meeting organised by Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria on the state of the country’s technical colleges in Abuja on Thursday.
The minister, who gave examples of how vocational and technical education had significantly contributed to the development of Singapore, Canada and South Africa , amongst others, said Nigeria must shape its educational system to suit the growth of the economy.
He told participants at the event that the government had worked out plans on how to engage thousands of artisans and technicians, particularly through the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, to fix roads across the country.
Fashola said, “ We, therefore , conclude that technical education systems are dynamic, the challenges are , of course, unique because human needs vary with time. So, we have to shape our educational system based on our economy. Our system must therefore be relevant and responsive. We must plan for the future and not the past.
“ Now, Nigeria is investing heavily in infrastructure. In the 2016 national budget, capital allocation alone was N1.8tn , which is a jump to 30 per cent of the total budget. We are currently planning for all these infrastructure that we are building, and I ’m happy that the Chairman, House Committee on Works ( Mr. Toby Okechukwu) is here .
“ The idea is to actually change FERMA , which is to review the FERMA law and come up with another law. The essence is that FERMA should ultimately be the biggest construction company in this country. The idea is to employ about 47, 000 people just to fix roads and the plan is there . Hopefully, I ’m sure that working with the House and the Senate, we will be able to get that done.”
In his address, the President of COREN, Mr . Kashim Ali, said the National Council on Works directed the agency to organise the meeting in order to allow stakeholders deliberate on the state of Nigerian technical colleges with a view to creating a truly unique platform for shaping the country’s future.
He explained that the dearth of technical colleges was the cause of the non -existence of qualified craftsmen and technicians in the Nigerian engineering sector and the attendant consequences thereof.
“The essence of today’s gathering, therefore, is to advance the discussion and build on the foundation started four years ago in Calabar.
Specifically, this meeting is aimed at finding out how each stakeholder will contribute towards revamping technical education in Nigeria ,” Ali said.