Babatunde Fashola who is the Minister of Power, Works and Housing stated that the National Housing Programme commenced by the Federal Government has deferred its first expected result of creating employment for youths. Fashola made this statement during an inspection of the National Housing Programme site in Imo State.
The Minister stated that the programme was started as part of efforts by the Federal Government to get the swarming youths across the country back to work. According to Fashola, “The very first thing that we needed to achieve has been achieved; get people back to work, move the economy back to growth and get the economy out of recession”.
He added “from the food vendors to the number of companies that are employed here, you can see building materials; you can see labour and you can see an ecosystem of growth. So, goal one is fulfilled, goal two is completion, goal three is allocation and we will go step by step”.
The minister mentioned that the last goal of the project would be fixing the prices for the houses. However this stage would be decided when the entire project has been completed. Fashola stated that “when we finish, we will look at our records to know how much we spent on the projects: the housing, electrification and roads to know how much of it we are passing to our ultimate consumers. We will also determine how much of it is government going to subsidise and how long should they pay”. He added that “affordability is not only a function of how much it will cost, it is also a function of how convenient the payment system will be”.
Fashola express pleasure with the number if employment generated at the site; he also mentioned that the entire project was carried out in line with the Federal Government’s local content policy. He stated that there cannot be any content that is more local than it is in this housing project because we insisted that contractors must use made-in-Nigeria products.
Tony Umezuruike who is the Imo State Commissioner for Housing praised the Federal Government for launching the housing project in the state. He stated that a project of such extent could not be finished without difficulties, especially in the area of land. However, the commissioner mentioned that the state government was already in the process of solving the issues. Umezuruike stated that “It is actually in progress, people in charge of the process are handling it and in no distant time, the land holding community will smile home”.
The contractors on the job commended the Federal Government for the National Housing Programme initiative. Francis Ogugwa, one of the contractors said the project had brought employment to over 200 youths in the community. He also credited the fast pace of work on the project to the Federal Government’s commitment to its funding and called for continual efforts to ensure speedy completion of the project.