The federal government said yesterday that under its National Housing Project, 1, 094 housing units have been completed while about 3, 000 others are at various advanced stages of completion in 34 states, except in Rivers and Lagos states where there were issues of land.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, SAN, disclosed this while briefing members of the Senate Committee on Housing led on an oversight visit to his office by its Chairman and former Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr. Sam Egwu.
“As part of the things we have done under the National Housing Project, about 1, 094 housing units have been completed, while about 3, 000 are under construction at different stages, many of which already completed but for the electrical, water supply networks, internal roads among others still ongoing,” he said.
Fashola, who also informed his guests that for effective coordination of projects, the ministry now has a special project unit, said at the time he came on board he inherited the Nnamdi Azikiwe Maosoleum, 24 federal secretariat complexes in the states, and the development of a National Buiding Maintenance Policy among others under the National Housing Project, adding that the projects have almost been executed.
He said another aspect being focused on seriously by the ministry is maintenance, the essence of which he said was “to maintain and improve value of existing public assets and to create employment for some of the most vulnerable groups in society, namely artisans, plumbers, welders, painters, etc”.
He said that is already going on most of the federal secretariats and other public structures being rehabilitated in line with the maintenance policy approved by the federal Executive Council (FEC).
The Minister, who said that his ministry got a financial support of only about 39% of the N83.4 billion appropriated for housing in the 2019 budget, noted that one of the greatest challenges of the sector is how to get more revenue to fund the budget on infrastructure and developmental needs.
He told them that as part of measures towards closing the yawning housing deficit gap, the idea of using cooperative societies has been adopted, citing the Cooperative Housing Policy which he said was being implemented through the Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to assists Nigerians to secure land and build houses of their choice by themselves.
Fashola said some schools, health centres and other public building projects which they met at inception have been completed and are being handed over to the respective states to operationalise them.
He said work is currently ongoing on six new federal government secretariat complexes in six states which hitherto had no such building as a result of state creation.
On their part, the law makers who raised concerns over some issues, especially the performance of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) in recent years, urged the Minister to send them a proposal on FHA and other agencies under the ministry that require the intervention of the National Assembly.
Speaking, the committee Chair, Dr Egwu lamented, “We can see that FHA is begging for existence, because it is in a terrible financial situation.
“We are interested in finding out what their challenges are.
“In the 2020 budget, we tried to make provisions for them at our,level, but when the budget came out, there was nothing for them.”