Mr Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, has said that though the ministry was working with lean resources, it was determined to do more in the interest of Nigerians.
Fashola said this on Tuesday in Abuja at a Town Hall/Policy Dialogue for Good Governance organised by the Alumni Association of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (AANI).
The theme of the meeting which was organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Culture was “ Towards Effective Implementation of the 2016 Budget’’.
The minister said that the ministry inherited 206 uncompleted road projects across the country, adding that contractors of most of the projects had since been mobilised to site.
According to him, the Federal Government has paid N300 billion for various projects since the budget was passed out of which the ministry received N102 billion.
He added that of the sum received, the ministry had embarked on several road and electricity projects, including the rebuilding of the Mambilla and Zugeru Power Plants, among others.
He, however, said that though the country was going through challenges, the change Nigerians desired was possible, if every one remained focus and determined.
“We are mindful that it is a tough time, but life will get back to normal. We are not a repository of knowledge; so we are willing to hear from you and make amends.’’
Foshola, however, debunked insinuations that he was saddled with too many responsibilities as a minister of three ministries combined.
He explained that his duty in the ministry was supervisory and directional, adding that the portfolio was not too much for him as was being speculated.
“For me, it is to serve my country in whatever capacity I am told to do so.”
He said that that one of the ministry`s greatest challenges was human-related, adding that some communities went to the extent of forestalling projects with spiritual power.
Speaking also, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said that the government inherited 1.2 million public servants and spent N165 billion monthly as salaries.
She added that the government had been able to save N8 billion from the monthly pay roll of public servants due to various strategies introduced to block loopholes.
She maintained that the country`s present economic challenges was not peculiar to Nigeria, adding that the economies of most western countries were built out of their diversity.
“Change can be extremely painful, but we must change.’’
She further added that to come out of the country`s present economic challenges, there was the need for financial discipline as well as investing in capital to attract private capital investors.
The government, she said, had no choice than to borrow to invest in the country`s infrastructure, adding that this was the only way to create jobs.
“We have a very conservative borrowing programme; we will borrow conservatively so we don’t burden the future generation.
“We must borrow, not like in the past when loans were taken to pay salaries; we will this time, borrow to invest and build our infrastructures.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that meeting, which was attended by the Ministers of Agriculture and Rural Development, Power, Works and Housing, Finance, Information and Culture, Budget and National Planning and Foreign Affairs, was the sixth in the series of town hall meetings.
The ministers took time to brief the audience on what the Federal Government was doing in their various ministries to address the country`s challenges and improve the economy.
Also, traditional rulers, members of the Diplomatic Corps and Civil Society Organisations, among others, attended the meeting.