By Michael Oche
Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo SAN has said the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) deserves a befitting head office, being the main job creation agency in the country.
Mr. Keyamo who stated during the inspection the new office of the NDE under construction in Abuja, said to tackle the menace of unemployment, the Agency deserves to own a befitting building that will enable it carry out its job creation operations.
The minister blamed non availability of required funds for the delay in completing the agency’s long awaited headquarters building.
Keyamo who was conducted round the building to ascertain the level of progress on the construction, expressed optimism on the quick completion of the office building, saying that “I really wish Mr. president to commission this before he leaves so that no other government should take credit except an APC government.”
“First, we thank Mr. President for acceding to our request. A functional building for NDE was one of the first requests I pursued as minister. Where we are now in Zone 1, Nouakchott Street has actually been a rented apartment for so many years and we pay so much every year as rent there.
“So we actually pursued this and graciously Mr. President granted us the commission to take over this building and handed it over to us as our permanent site. Am sure you see how very impressive the building is even in an unfinished state. It shows the love the president has for this agency and the support the president has given to this agency so we thank Mr. President
“The second one is to also behave like Olivia twist, we are appealing for funds, bulk funds to finish it as quickly as possible. You will notice that every year, building materials go up so much. So if we don’t finish as quickly as possible. A building that you can use N10 to finish, if you delay for 5 years, you will use another N100 to finish that building. It will be 3, 4 times the price for finishing. So the thing is to get funds out and finish it as quickly as possible.
“One, it helps us to conserve funds ultimately even though we can get or if we are getting more funds immediately, but ultimately, we preserve fund and save the funds for the federal government.
“The second one is that we also save the funds of the rent we pay every year at Nouakchott Street. The third one is, NDE is the main employment agency. It should be realized that this building is for the star employment agency for Nigeria. We have other ones, we have other agencies into other ministries that create some pockets of jobs but NDE is the star agency by law, it is the star agency to create jobs in the country.
“Imagine people coming from outside the country and they don’t see an impressive building. In fact you will see that the agency that wants to create jobs also needs to be repaired. It will not be good enough for us. So for the image of this agency, we need this building to be put in shape as quickly as possible.
“So I want to urge the engineers to be prudent to the management of funds, to be prudent because we don’t have money in this county so whatever is given to them, we beg them to use direct labour as much as possible to finish up this building as soon as possible, conserve funds to the federal government so we can move in as quickly as possible”, he added.