Fashola on falling oil price: We’d re-strategise, NOT abandon our projects
Babatunde Fashola, minister of works and housing, says the fall in the price of crude oil will not result in the abandonment of projects.
In an interview with TheSignature50 magazine, Fashola listed the projects that the Buhari administration plans to complete to include: “Lagos – Ibadan Expressway, the 2nd Niger Bridge, Abuja – Kano and about 22 other major Highways”.
The minister said however, given the global fall in oil prices owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry will have to re-strategise.
Crude oil prices have dropped below Nigeria’s $57/barrel projection, with the federal government reviewing the benchmark from $57 per barrel to $25 and crude production from 2.18 million to 1.94 million barrels per day in the 2020 revised budget.
“Budgets are aspirational and dependent on a variety of assumptions which may be proven or unproven,” Fashola said.
“Reduction in oil prices mean reduction in revenues and this will necessitate that plans are re- prioritized but not abandoned as choices and trade-offs become inevitable.
“The administration, within the limits of available resources, aims to complete major projects like Lagos – Ibadan Expressway, the 2nd Niger Bridge , Abuja – Kano and about 22 other major Highways , expand access to Housing through partnership with cooperatives and with private sector Developers who have the capacity and the means.”
Asked if the government plans to partner the private sector to see to infrastructural development in the country, Fashola said unlike China and the UAE, whose focus is on the upper and middle class, the Nigerian government is focused on tending to the needs of the lower class.
“Most of the development in these two countries have been funded and largely developed by government and government owned companies, and in many cases tended to the needs of upper middle class and corporate clients rather than lower middle class where the demand is located in Nigeria,” he said.
“We are already seeing private developers choose their segment of the market and government is acting in lower income bracket of the market.”