- From Blog Archive
Fashola unveils plans on mass housing - By Yinka Kolawole
Fashola however lamented that the N36 billion appropriated for housing sector in the 2016 budget is grossly inadequate.
"We look at the N36 billion as the fund with which we will build the concept and if the concept is successful, then we can roll it out more massively because it is not going to solve our housing problems.
We can rush out and get some results but we are desirous to have a lasting housing intervention.
We have consulted widely and from our feedback, we are building according to culture. Our one bedroom is 60 square meters different from the normal one bedroom which is on the average of 20-30 square meters. It is a very big one bedroom. Affordability lies at the heart of what we are doing," he stated.
Chairman, House Committee on Housing, Mustafa Dawaki, questioned the ministry's competence in implementing the National Housing project, six months into the fiscal year 2016. He said: "What has the ministry been doing since November last year when the budget was presented till now that appropriate designs are not ready, you have not even advertised for it?
Are you not competent or what, because you ought to have completed the design by February so that once the budget was passed you commence. Design should not take more than 15 days because your experts in the ministry have been doing it for years. By the time you start this project, you will have just about three months left in the year, even if the budget is extended to March 2017 that will be just six months".
However, in his response, Fashola blamed the situation on poor responses from states in provision of land for the National Housing Project. According to him, only 17 out of the 36 States have so far responded, adding that the ministry can only commence with just four states that have completed the process from 17 that have given their commitment.
He also noted that the take-off of the project is delayed by procurement act which compels government to make 15 percent advance payment to contractors, to enable local contractors to participate. "The ministry should be commended and not condemned because the budget is inadequate. As a result of that, we are focusing on sustainable housing plan that works rather than rushing the budget, affordability and slum prevention is key to this design.
Why it took so long for the design to be ready? Infrastructure - roads, sewage disposal, water and others - has to be planned into the housing and that's what the ministry is doing." The minister further stated that the partnership with Shelter Afrique, for construction of 5,000 units of houses under the '5,000 for 5,000 initiative' will result into delivery of one bedroom at N1 million and payment spread over time with a mortgage facility.