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Imminent fund release: Construction firms set to re-engage 20,000 workers


 Babatunde Fashola

Babatunde Fashola

Barring any unforeseen circumstance, an estimated 20,000 workers who were laid off by construction companies at the heat of recent cash crunch are set to return to work.

This development was sequel to a recent announcement by the Federal Government that it would soon start releasing funds to road contractors to return to the various construction sites they abandoned.The firms have also made a firm pledge to re-engage their respective sacked workers.

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, announced the planned release of funds in a communiqué issued at the end of a meeting with contractors handling highway projects across the country.

Present at the meeting were representatives and chief executives of major construction companies like Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, RCC, Arab Contractors , Dantata and Sawoe, Reynolds Construction, Stallini, Gitto and Setraco, among others.

Fashola promised that government would pay outstanding fees following the signing into law of the 2016 budget by President Muhammadu Buhari. On their part, the contractors also promised to recall all their workers previously laid off as a result of fund paucity.

The contractors also committed themselves to building roads that would meet international standards, including high quality road furniture in terms of markings and signs.

The meeting agreed that all road projects not captured in the 2016 budget would also be addressed before the end of the year, while the contractors handling them would go back to site as soon as funds are made available.

Fashola had earlier called on the contractors to ensure that they recall all laid off workers in their firms as soon as they return to sites, pointing out that the objective of the Federal Government was to reenergise the economy through construction of the roads, which according to him, would set off all the value chains that come with construction.

He stressed government’s resolve to complete as many roads as funds would allow, adding that for those that could not be completed, enough progress would be made before the end of the year to impact on the travel conditions of Nigerians.

The Minister said: “We have very simple objectives, to return the economy to growth, to create jobs, especially construction and its ancillary value chain. So, we expect that when we disburse this money, at least, they would go right back to work. That was something all of us will agree upon”.

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