Nigeria to embark on mass housing projects

Solomon Chung, Lagos

The Nigerian government has said it is investing massively in infrastructural development and indicated that mass housing projects are underway.

The country’s Minister of information and Culture Lai Mohammed made the statement on Monday in Lagos, South West Nigeria, at the 4th edition of the Commonwealth Public Relations Congress.

According to Mohammed, “we are about to start constructing houses across the country, having received land from 27 states so far. Tenders have been considered and over 500 contracts are now ready to be issued for work to start in earnest.”

He also stressed that social media had become a challenge to the job of public relations practitioners.

He said there was an urgent need to devise a way to communicate with the citizens professionally so as to neutralize the activities of certain elements using the democratized social media.

“Today, the job of a government image maker, or image shaper if you like, has been made more daunting by the Social Media, which has so democratized information gathering and dissemination, that anyone with access to a smart phone can put out any information, whether accurate or not, that could go viral in minutes. Yes, the Social Media has enhanced access to information, which is a good thing.

But the downside is that it has also become a platform for disinformation through fake and distorted news, which is a nightmare to any image maker, whether for the government or for an organization.

No fact-checking, no accuracy, no fairness, no rules. They just spread whatever information catches their fancy, and they have their own public that believes them.”

He said the government had devised ways to tackle the challenge, by reviving
an age-long practice that worked so effectively in the past; Town Hall Meetings, which allow government to speak directly to Nigerians and also get a feedback from them.

Robust plans

The Minister reeled out some of the robust plans of the government towards revamping the nation’s economy.

On the economy, he said the sustainable funding of Oil and Gas Industry Joint Ventures, which had been approved by the Federal Executive Council, were set to increase the net Federal Government revenue per annum by about $2 billion.

In that regard, there would be an increase in national oil production from the current 2.2 million barrels per day to 2.5 mbpd by 2019; a reduction in Unit Technical Costs from $27.96 per barrel to $18 and double the net payments to the Federation Account, from about $7Billion to over $14Billion by 2020.

“ It is important to note that the alternative funding mechanism that allows the JV business to be self-funding will also restore investor confidence; raise the prospects of higher investment in growth activities by the partners and arrest production decline.”

The Minister also said there was massive investment in roads, railways, power; creating jobs in the process.

“Our social intervention programme, which is unprecedented in these climes, is taking off well. Some 200,000 of the 500,000 jobs promised under the N-Power Volunteers Programme will be filled from Dec. 1st 2016.

Out of this, N-Power Teach/Community will provide 150,000 jobs, N-Power Agro will provide 30,000 jobs and N-Power Health 20,000 jobs,” he concluded.