FG creates 54,680 jobs in housing sector, says minister

Ajibade Alabi

…Says National Housing Policy lacks implementation

The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, has said ‎the Federal Government created jobs for 54,680 people in the housing sector since inception in 2015.

Fashola, disclosed this at the sixth National Council on Land, Housing And Urban Development, in Abuja, saying that out of this figure, 13,680 people got direct jobs, while 41,000 got indirect jobs.

The minister said that, 653 contractors were engaged in the pilot scheme to deliver 2,736 housing units across the country, pointing out that the next level of intervention which the ministry is developing, is the use of co-operatives.

He said, “This is very important to the theme and purpose of this year’s council meeting, which centres around inclusion. Our experience has shown that very sizeable parts of our population who are productive and self-employed have been excluded from formal processes that regulate access to funding, land or housing.

“However, this large number of people operate successfully by themselves, in groups which they form as co-operatives to protect their common interests and pursue their developmental objectives. “Co-operatives have been very prolific and successful in sectors like agriculture and market organizations where the vulnerability of an individual is transformed into the strength of a group.

“Our government sees no reason the successes of co-operatives in these sectors cannot be utilised to facilitate housing delivery.”

He said,”We are determined to place the might of government at the disposal of groups who can form themselves into co-operatives, as enabling capacity to acquire the land, take loans, build for themselves and operate a rent to own policy for those who cannot pay full ownership cost at the beginning.”

According to him,“When our work on the review of the existing laws, and the processes for eligibility are completed, we will undertake a national launch and enlightenment programme to kick- start the active use of co-operatives in housing delivery. Deficit in housing I have chosen to speak about this plan at this meeting because the success of this initiative will depend on what is done at state level, and many, if not all, states are represented here.”.

Fashola said, “I will like to go back to the issue of the deficit in housing and set the context, not only how it has grown with our size, but also why some seem so terrified of approaching it. “When we started this national housing programme, my attention was brought to the fact that there had been no national housing programme since the end of the Second Republic in 1983, which is about 34 years ago. ”

He said,”I must of course not be mistaken for saying that there were no housing interventions. There were, but they were neither sustained nor were they implemented on a national scale. This omission is a big contributing factor to the size of the deficit and the exclusion of people. Of course, there has always been a National Housing Policy, which seeks to deliver affordable housing, but as I said, there was no programme to implement and actualize the policy. ”

“This government has now formulated that national programme by concept, design and now pilot stage implementation which in the early stages has already created opportunities for 653contractors, and created 13,680 direct jobs and 41,000 indirect jobs.” “What we must do therefore, is to repeat this programme year on year, not only at federal level but also at state level,” he added. ”

He said,”If we do this and also successfully implement the housing cooperatives, leverage private sector capacity, strengthen FHA and FMBN to play their roles, we will be creating a housing economy that will irreversibly and positively transform our nation forever.”

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