By Rita Esegine
The House of Representatives through the Employment, Labour and Productivity Committee Chairman, Engineer Mohammad Ali Wudil, has said that the desire of the House is to see the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), mice from a rented build to it own office complex in Gudu District of Abuja.
Engineer Wudil, who said this when he led Labour Committee members of the House of Reps to an oversight visit to the national headquarters of NDE under construction in Abuja, added that his Committee will pacify the leadership of the National Assembly to understand how important it is for the building to be completed, especially with the much needed job creation programmes the Directorate runs in view providing job opportunities for Nigeria teeming unemployed.
“The wish of the House Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity is to see that the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) headquarters moves out of a rented apartment and occupy the structure allocated to it by the Federal Government soonest”. His words.
According to a press statement signed by NDE’s Assistant Director, Information and Public Relations, Israel Adekitan, and made available to journalists in Abuja, the Chairman further expressed satisfaction on the progress of work done so far on the building.. he went on to say; “I know that the funding on the project is small and slow. With this inspection we can see that with little money allocated, partitions are made, piping is done and work is in progress. With his inspection, the house committee will make the National Assembly to understand the need to improve on the funding of the project.”
Earlier, the Director-General of the NDE, Mallam Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo, who received the committee into the site, expressed optimism that the visitation of the House of Reps members will impact positively in the quick completion of the project.
He further appealed to the House Committee to assist in ensuring early completion of the project through adequate appropriation in the 2023 budget provision. He added that the building is huge, capital intensive and requires adequate funding.
The Director-General observed that the funds made available for the project in the 2022 appropriation was a far cry from what is needed to do a significant work, pleading to the House Committee to assist the Directorate in speeding up the completion of the building.
In his words, Mallam Fikpo said; “Now that the House Committee is here on oversight function visit to assess the progress of work, it is our hope and believe that more funds will be released to complete the building, by that, much money will be saved in terms of rent payment on the hired building we presently occupy as headquarter”.
Unanimously, the House Committee members, praised the NDE DG for his commitment and efforts in ensuring that Directorate b carry out its statutory duties of job creation programmes and initiatives for the purpose of engaging Nigerians in meaningful and gainful employment opportunities. They also praised his prudence on the head office complex project and shared him to; be steadfast.
They went on to stress the need for the Federal Government to release funds and complete the project rather than allow the Directorate to remain in the circuit of rent payment for too long.
The statement also said that earlier in the year while visiting the project site, the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo SAN who is the supervising Minister of the NDE and Chairman of its board, had expressed his desire to have the office building commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR before the expiration of his administration.
It further said that the building which was originally a hotel was given to the NDE at carcass stage to be used as official headquarter in 2019. The building is being redesigned to suit the purpose of NDE as offices with intelligent system of accommodation.
On its part, Skaldon International Limited, the contractor of the project had expressed its fear that the building may not be completed at the stipulated time due to poor funding
For the records, NDE was established in November 1986 to checkmate unemployment in Nigeria. It went into full operations of employment generation and job creations in January 1987. As gargantuan as its mandate is, NDE started-off without a building it could call its own. As a result of the inability to secure permanent building as headquarters over the years, its operations were bedeviled with high burden of huge debt arising from office accommodations both from the states where it operates at the grassroots and the headquarters where policies are formulated.