The Hon. Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Mohammed Musa Bello, has said that the nation’s leading and most reliable engineering construction company, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, has a sound, unmatched and continuing recorded infrastructural development history in the FCT. Bello made this statement on Tuesday, at the Official Site Handover and inauguration of Gwagwa District Abuja Phase IV North, FCT, which is to be developed under the FCTA’s Land Swap Initiative. The Minister emphasized the importance of the Land Swap initiative. According to Bello, the programme was drawn to remedy the infrastructure deficit in the FCT by swapping land with private investors, who would in turn provide the necessary infrastructure.
Bello explained that the ceremony signals full resumption of the Land Swap Initiative, which would pave way for provision of the desired infrastructure in the areas earmarked for the development. He said the initiative, came about when it became very clear that there was no way the FCT could be developed using the normal annual budgetary allocations, because of the astronomical manner the City had developed both in terms of science and population. He stated that the project was one in the series of projects that are going to be flagged-off before the end of the current administration, adding that the FCTA is going to be very tough in ensuring the protection of the interest of the State, people and private partners. He explained that the Government grants land to private investors, through Public Private Partnership, to boost infrastructure provision in the City. According to him, investors are expected to within a 10-year development plan facilitate provision of infrastructure development in the given site, and encourage real estate development in line with the standard set by the FCTA.
The FCT Minister expressed satisfaction in the choice of contractor for the project saying that, “Julius Berger has a sound recorded infrastructural development history in the FCT…. I am so happy, that this particular project is being done in partnership with Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. There is no way you can write the history of the Federal Capital Territory, without mentioning Julius Berger, which as we all know is 100 per cent Nigerian. We are very proud to be associated with the company in this City. We hope that as some point in the future, we will come here and see what the construction leader, JBN has done”.
In her address, the Hon. Minister of State of the FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu said, “the Land Swap Initiative is a testament of our commitment to the provision of critical infrastructures for FCT residents in line with Mr. President’s mandate for the administration. This is also a bold step by the FCT Administration towards resolving the burdensome challenge of infrastructure funding through budgetary allocation. The importance of this project therefore cannot be over-emphasized, given the abundant investment opportunities embedded in the Land Swap Programme. This initiative will lead to greater inflow of revenue and economic activities, and gainful employment for both youths and women alike”.
Earlier, the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, explained that the return to the land swap initiative followed directive of President Muhammadu Buhari to the Ministers to ensure continuation of ongoing projects. Adesola said it is a capital intensive project by a private company in line with the Land Swap Policy, aimed at assisting the FCTA to accelerate the development of the FCT.
Also in attendance at the event were the Permanent Secretary FCTA, Mr. Olusade Adesola; the Chief of Staff to the Minister, Malam Bashir Mai-Bornu; the Executive Secretary of the FCDA, Engr. Shehu Hadi Ahmed; Mandate Secretaries of the FCTA, the Chief of Jiwa, HRH Idris Musa and other officials of the FCTA.
The Julius Berger delegation to the project flag off ceremony was led by the company’s Regional Manager, Region Central North, Engr. Oliver Berger. Also in the Julius Berger team were Mr. Keuck Peter, Mr. James Agama and Ms Uzoma Olivia.