Fashola launches 10-year National Housing Strategy Blueprint, hands over Ministry
By Chioma Eche, Abuja
Nigeria’s Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola has launched a Ten- year Blueprint for the National Housing Strategy Plan (NHS).
The launch took place just before Mr. Fashola and the Minister of State, Hon. Umar Ibrahim El-Yakub, handed over the mantle of leadership of the Ministry to the Director overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Engr. Folorunsho Esan, in Abuja.
The NHS Strategy document is a project in collaboration with Messes FMDQ Holding Plc, which will bring in the power of private capital in the sector.
Fashola said government alone cannot provide the totality of housing needs for Nigerians, hence the need to create an enabling environment for the private sectors to thrive
According to the Minister, the ten-year strategic blueprint has been designed to harmonize all extant housing initiatives by various stakeholders into a single National Housing Strategy.
He explained that despite the numerous housing programmes initiated by the current administration for affordable housing, it still did not provide more homes than private enterprises, stating that the private sector remains the real driver of housing solutions in the country
“There is nothing the government does in the housing sector that can compete and provide more than what the private sector can do whether it is a state government building or the Federal Government, the real drivers at the end of the day are the capacity of private capital for providing more houses,” he said
Explaining further, he stated that the scope of land holding, are from the state governments that owns the bulk of land, the Federal Government doesn’t have as much land as the collective land holding that is in the hands of the private sector.
Accordingly, the Minister reiterated the need for reliable data on housing defic, assuring that the scheduled population census will reveal the real size of housing problems in the country.
“I am launching this document with mixed feelings and I say that because, as an initiative of the private sector, the document is an alternative solution to the housing problem. One of the data that will be collected will be; who lives in a rented house; who owns his house; those who have other houses, and what type of house people live in. So, let’s hold our breath; and when the figure comes, it will be very reliable upon which we can see the real size of the problem,” he added.
Meanwhile, during the handing over ceremony, Fashola stated that the eight years of the Buhari’s Administration did its best in making sure that the promises made to the citizens are kept.
The Minister thanked the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi Esan who was present at the ceremony, the Directors, Heads of Agencies, Heads of Units of the Ministry and all staff in attendance.
He expressed gratitude to the contractors whom he said stood in the gap and encouraged them to continue doing the best for the nation.
The Minister of State, Hon. Umar Ibrahim El-Yakub expressed his appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for giving him the opportunity to serve in his cabinet.
El-Yakub thanked the Minister and other Management staff for their kind gesture and team work which has helped him in carrying out his functions.
In her good will message, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi Esan congratulated the Ministers for their successes and thanked them for their support and encouragement to the Civil Service programmes and activities.
In his response the Director overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Engr. Folorunsho Esan, thanked the Ministers for their purposeful guidance and high level of cooperation, pledging to continue to move with their vision, concept and dedication to duties.
Earlier, the Director overseeing the office of the Permanent Secretary, Engr. Esan stated that, the Blueprint is an outcome of the collaborative effort among the Office of the Vice President of Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, PricewaterhouseCoopers and FMDQ Holding PLC.
He explained that the project working group had worked tirelessly to produce the strategic compendium being launched which is an announcement of the completion of Nigeria’s 10-year National Housing Strategy Blueprint and the commitment to the execution of the initiative therein.
In his response, the Senior Vice President, FMDQ Group PLC, Mr. Emmanuel Etaderhi acknowledged the support and commitment of the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and the Minister, Babatunde Fashola for his guidance along every stage of the drafting of the strategy, while commending the members of PricewaterhouseCoopers team for their work, research and dedication.
In another development, the signing of the Value-Added Concession under Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI) was performed by the Minister.
During the signing ceremony, Fashola noted that it is another demonstration of the Ministry’s innovative commitment to fixing the Nations’ Federal road network through a multi-pronged approach.
He said the Highways Development Initiative (HDMI) was created to develop and manage the Federal Road Network with the objective to attract sustainable investment and funding in the development of road infrastructure across the Nation.
The Managing Director of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Micheal Ohiani, in his address, stated that the primary objective of (HDMI) pilot scheme is to leverage private sector investment to improve facilities and operations on selected routes; infrastructure development by applying a commercial approach that bridges the funding gaps in annual capital budget expenditure, thereby reducing the dependency on budgetary allocations.
On his part, Director Overseeing the office of the Permanent Secretary, Engr. Folorunsho Esan, stated that as the ministry attains its commercial height, it is the expectation that “in no distant time, and in line with the agreed timelines, the financial close time will be reached to enable the execution of the project accordingly.”
The six successful concessionaires for the execution of the concession contract include: African Plus Partner Nigeria Limited Consortium (Benin Asaba Express Way and Lagos Otta Abeokuta Road); Avia Infrastructure Services Ltd Consortium (Abuja – Lokoja Road); Enyimba Economic City Development Company Consortium (Onitsha Owerri Road and Enugu Port Harcourt Highway); Africa Finance Corporation Consortium (Shagamu Benin Road and Lagos-Badagry -Seme Border Road); Dafac Consortium (Kano -Shuari Road);, and China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC) for (Keffi-Akwanga-lafia-makurdi Road) respectively.