The Federal Government has stepped up efforts to ensure proper maintenance of public buildings across the country.
This followed a two-day stakeholder meeting on the Draft National Public Buildings Maintenance Policy organised by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing (Works and Housing Sector) which began yesterday in Abuja.
In his remarks, the Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, said as Governor of Lagos for eight years, he came up with the maintenance policy which worked very well in the state and it is still working.
Fashola who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Works and Housing (Works and Housing Sector), Mohammed Bukar, further said the policy will be a legacy for him if he is able to bequeath such policy to the government at the federal level.
Fashola added that the national building maintenance policy framework is expected to serve as a guide to all stakeholders in the maintenance of public buildings and assets under their respective purview.
He said the essence of the policy is to ensure that public buildings continue to serve their intended purposes for longer period, as well as guarantee safety, healthy and comfortable usage.
According to Fashola, “the document is equally expected to provide effective means of addressing challenges and shortcomings associated with public buildings maintenance culture in Nigeria.
“Effective management of infrastructural assets is most critical to their continuous existence and optimal performance. Considering the fact that public buildings represent significant investment of the taxpayers’ money, preserving building facilities, therefore, is necessary for overall development of our country.”
Fashola further said in the last three years, the federal government invested heavily in the built industry, adding that the current administration is constructing over 5000 mixed housing units across the country, with over 2000 units already on ground.
Government, Fashola also stated that billions of naira have been spent on site and services development with a view to reducing the national housing deficit, while also saying that six federal secretariats were constructed in some states of the federation where there were hitherto no secretariats.
Over 20 other federal secretariats, Fashola stated were renovated in order to create conducive working environment, adding that in line with the desire to safeguard public investment and ensure optimal utilization of resources, government intended to produce policy guidelines for maintenance of infrastructure nationwide.
Also speaking, the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing (Works and Housing Sector), Dr. Famous Eseduwo, said the government is looking at providing holistic, one-in-one guidelines for the maintenance of public buildings in the country.
Eseduwo said: “Having realised that so much money has been spent on the development of public buildings in the country, but the country has recorded very, very poor public building maintenance culture, government felt that this money spent to develop public buildings are taxpayers’ money. So, if the buildings are not properly maintained, then they cannot serve the purpose for which they were built. That is the focus of government.”
In her presentation, the Lead Consultant, Alexander Marius Limited, Mrs. Adenike Adekanbi, said the government is more serious about the maintenance of infrastructural assets, adding that the gathering was just a way to guide stakeholders on the proper maintenance of its assets.
She added that after several efforts by past governments in producing such document, “this is the first time that a draft has been put together.”
Credit: The Sun