The federal government needs about N40 billion to replace nine public buildings currently in bad shape.
The buildings include: the prison, court, federal secretariat, hospital, a federal government college and four of blocks of building in the ministry of Power, Works and Housing including the power house.
The government also disclosed the country was capable of saving billions annually if members of the public embrace maintenance as they do religion.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola stated these on Thursday in Abuja during public presentation of the ‘National Public Building Maintenance Policy’.
The Minister also stated data from other countries show maintenance contributes about 3 percent to South Africa, Canada and United States of America’s GDP.
Speaking on the importance of the policy, the minister said: “The federal government’s decision on maintenance is an economic decision. It is meant to empower Nigerians at the base of the economic pyramid especially those who are artisans.
“It is also meant to empower the middle class; those who are in small and medium scale enterprises, manufacturers of cottage industry produced equipment and generally drive the growth of Nigeria’s economy.”
On the financial implication of poor maintenance, the Minister said: “We used nine public buildings as pilot; the prison, court, federal secretariat, hospital, federal government college and four of our buildings and the power house.
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“The total overview of those nine buildings showed to us that it will cost about N40billion to replace those buildings.
“We thought that if we pursue maintenance at about N600 million to N900 million per annum, those buildings can achieve their desired life of between 50 to 70 years.
“If we had N40 billion in any event, instead of using them to replace existing buildings, we should be using them to expand and provide more for our growing population.”
He also said maintenance would create employment opportunities.
“If we spend under a billion a year, we found out that we will be employing over 400 people in just those nine buildings.
“One of the schools will require about 34 people and I did a quick check; there are about 104 unity schools, so if you multiply 34 by 104 for schools alone, you will begin to see the numbers we are seeing.”
Commenting on recent law prohibiting discrimination against people living with disability, Fashola urged architects to brace up to achieve the five years compliance target set.
Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita said the maintenance culture of public facilities was worrisome.
She also said the speedy maintenance will save cost.
Oyo-Ita, who was represented by Mrs. Toyin Alade, said: “Our maintenance culture in Nigeria has become worrisome and it should be put in the right perspective.
“Prompt maintenance of the buildings will save possible deterioration and save money at the end of the day.
“The workers also desire satisfaction in a well maintained friendly building. Dilapidated buildings portend danger for its workers and this we must avoid at all cost.”