….. Urges stakeholders to embrace reforms for better economy
A pro- democracy group, Save Nigeria Movement (SNM), has thrown it’s weight behind the Minister of Works Engr. Dave Umahi following his pragmatic and courageous reforms in the Ministry aimed at addressing road infrastructural deficit in Nigeria using locally sourced materials such as cement for road construction.
The CSO, dedicated to building a culture of transparency and due process in Nigeria
in a press release made available to journalists in Abuja by its convener Rev Solomon Semaka over the weekend expressed optimism that with the current reforms spearheaded by the Minister of Works, Engr Dave Umahi, Nigeria’s prospect in building sustainable and cost efficient and effective roads will soon become a reality as roads built with cement concrete are less expensive and more durable than those built with asphalt in our part of the world.
According to the statement, “the group maintained that it solidly commends Engr. Dave Umahi for his unwavering stance in promoting the use of cement concrete for road construction in Nigeria” This initiative will empower local cement manufacturers, drastically reduce capital flight, stabilise the dollar and address balance of payment deficit as the shift from importing asphalt to utilising locally produced cement will reduce the high demand for foreign exchange especially the dollar. This will also eliminate excessive variations caused by fluctuations in dollar rates, providing a more stable economic environment especially for the naira to regain strength against the dollar”.
As a country plagued by crippling unemployment, SNM equally anticipates a boost in employment opportunities for Nigerian youth as a direct consequence of increased demand for cement and other locally sourced materials which will invariably lead to the establishment of more cement production plants across the country and the expansion of already existing plants to meet up with the local demand bearing in mind Nigeria’s vast limestone deposits.
“Engr. Dave Umahi has won our trust and confidence as an Engr., politician and great administrator per excellence. He is not afraid of any cabal as they want to be called. His patriotic decision to end the exploitation of the Nigerian government in the area of road construction and stimulate the local economy is highly commendable. We stand shoulder to shoulder with him as he stives to confronts attacks from some dubious contractors and corrupt civil servants within the ministry who are bent on undermining the reform efforts especially those who prefer the use of asphalt in order to continue to fleece the country of scarce resources . Our position is clear, Nigeria is bigger than any individual and whatever will benefit Nigeria and the general public is what we will support”, the statement noted.
Expressing their unalloyed support for President Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda, the group insisted on monitoring the implementation of directives as driven by the Honorable Minister to ensure compliance with Mr President directive, stressing that while the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu aims to inherit and complete ongoing projects unlike what used to happen before, it will not tolerate corruption and sabotage in the process. “The renewed hope agenda of Mr President has no room for saboteurs.
“Mr. President deserves to be appreciated by Nigerians for his ingenuity in appointing a credible hand in the Ministry of Works and also securing funding for ongoing road projects, amounting to over 5 trillion Naira. ” Mr President ingenuity must be encouraged”
“It is important for us as a frontline civil society organisation to urge Nigerians to disregard the actions of contractors with self-serving interests who are opposed to this laudable initiative and encourage local contractors to express interest to minimize the monopoly held by so called big contractors who are mostly foreigners”. With more local contractors, the multiplier effect of local content in the road construction sub-sector on unemployment and the economy at large will be huge “, the statement added.
While suing for unity of purpose, SNM also issued a stern warning to civil servants who are being used by contractors to destabilise the reform agenda of the Hon. Minister, adding that, “any civil servant found distorting the system will face dire consequences and that contractors who are uncomfortable with the country’s progress under President Tinubu should step aside immediately to pave way for patriotic firms to come in and drive Nigeria’s new infrastructural blueprint and roadmap aimed at boosting local production, stabilizing the Naira as well as creating millions of jobs for Nigerians”.