Abuja – President Goodluck Jonathan said on Wednesday that adequate funds had been earmarked for the settlement of all outstanding debts to contractors.
The President stated this while declaring open the 2nd Africa and Middle East Conference of the Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) in Abuja.
Jonathan, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, said that the gesture was part of efforts to boost the nation’s construction industry.
He said that a huge allocation had been set aside in the third quarter for payment to such contractors.
”Regarding the issues that were raised to do with payments of contractors, Government is effecting releases to settle contractors at the federal level and in fact this third quarter release is huge.
“And you will recall only recently Mr President signed performance contract with all the Ministers who have been directed to also sign performance contract with their Permanent Secretaries and Directors and you will agree with me this will obviously include the issue of ensuring prompt payments, as you cannot achieve any impact in delivering projects without adequate payments.
“Thus the urgent need to protect and equip your members to cope with the down time moment for another contract has become more compelling.
“You must, therefore, clearly define your information network, convene regular sessions to educate and share ideas on emerging trend in the industry.
“This is important for the growth of our economies.”
Jonathan challenged the building and wood workers in the construction industry to transit from traditional competence to more sophisticated skills, to retain industrial relevance in the rapidly changing world.
“The need to train and equip a new generation of engineers, builders and Wood-workers with the right tools to address the challenges for future development has been vigorously canvassed. I share these expectations.”
Sambo lauded the organisation for efforts at developing the capacity of its members.
He said government was ready to partner with unions and associations to certify competent middle level artisans in the industry, to enhance their employability.
The Vice President noted with satisfaction, the giant strides achieved by the President Jonathan’s administration in areas of power, agriculture, transportation, water resources, oil and gas.
Earlier, the Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu, noted that the hosting of the conference was a landmark achievement by Nigeria.
He said that the construction workers were an integral part of national development, whose services were not only essential but critical.
Wogu disclosed that government had institutionalised the principle of Social Dialogue and that of Tripartite on labour issues.
In his remark, the President of the National Union of Civil Engineering Construction, Furniture & Wood Workers (NUCECFWW), Dr. Samuel Adeoye, tasked the African and Middle East leaders to ensure a favourable service and work environment for their members.
The Conference, with the theme: “Building and Advancing Workers Power in Construction and Forestry Sector,” is being attended by 26 countries from 35 unions across Africa and Middle East.
It is also being attended by 26 women representatives and 15 youth representatives.