The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, on Thursday said the Federal Government has begun auditing of construction sites to ensure enforcement of the Executive Order 5.
Fashola made the disclosure at the second edition of the annual BRF GABFEST organised by some youths to honour him in Lagos.
In February 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved Executive Order 5, mandating Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to give preference to local engineering companies in the award of contracts in the country.
The order is to grant priority to local companies on projects to the tune of 7.5 per cent, except in the absence of local engineers that could not execute the projects before international expertise could be engaged.
According to him, a council for the enforcement of the order which seeks the prosperity of Nigerians has been set up.
“The president has issued an executive order called Executive Order number 5.
“”What the order seeks to achieve essentially is that anytime our economy produces opportunities, we must ensure that if Nigerians are able to do that job, we give them preference.
“And it does not matter whether the loan is coming from China or India or from Kaura Namoda .
” The truth is that loan is a contract to borrow money which we will pay back;it is not a contract to sign away our sovereignty.’’ he said.
He said the council for the enforcement of the Executive Order 5 had him, (Fashola) as a member and Ogbonaya Onu, the Minister for Science and Technology as the Chairman.
“Some of the quick things we decided to do first is that, in my own department, we are going to audit all our construction sites.
“On all our construction sites, we started audit and we want to find out how many ECOWAS citizens are working here.
“If you are an ECOWAS citizen, you do not need a visa but you need a work permit.
“We heard that Ghana supposedly deported some of our people, it is a right that every country has, if you violate their immigration laws.
“It is a right we have never exercised and we are going to exercise it now,’’ he said.
The minister urged foreigners with legitimate papers who want to work in Nigeria to follow the regulation in line with global practices.
He explained that his ministry had also begun enforcement and sanctions on erring contractors who defy the Executive Order 5.
“These are the policies about jobs and employment that are in place by the President Buhari led government,’’ he said.
Fashola also emphasised the importance of maintenance in infrastructure and projects.
“Maintenance is a critical income generation and major employer of labour.
“Over 70 per cent goes into maintenance and operation in the building industry while designs employ about six per cent of capacity, with construction and governance accounting for only 15 and two per cent respectively.”
Fashola said a facility management system had been proposed to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to ensure maintenance of the nation’s assets.
He said that it included assessment of prisons, federal hospitals, courts, secondary schools and other public buildings.
According to him, the maintenance framework will create mass employment opportunities in roads, rail, housings and other sectors
“We once thought that maintenance was a culture but it is not a culture but an economy,’’ he said.