Housing Programme: Portal launch to rouse private sector participation — Fashola
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has described the launch of National Housing Programme portal as a demonstration scheme meant to galvanise private sector participation.
Fashola, who disclosed this in Abuja, on Friday, said the Federal Government, through the formal launch of the portal, https:// nhp.worksandhousing.gov.ng, was throwing open doors for Nigerians to apply online to buy the available 5,000 plus housing units, ranging from one, two and three bedroom bungalows and blocks of flats in any location of their choice.
“Nigerians can now apply for houses built under the current Federal Government’s National Housing Programme (NHP) in 34 states of the country following the launch. We applied for land from states and we set out to do a demonstration or a pilot programme because we wanted to validate what we saw and build a pilot scheme.
“So as at today, we have built 5,000 plus units in different stages of completion. We have done in Phase One and we have done in Phase Two and some have started in Phase Three. The other purpose this scheme has served is to fulfil part of the objectives of the administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
Fashola said the decision to sell the available houses online was to bring credibility to the exercise and reduce human intervention, as well as give all categories of buyers a level-playing field.
He clarified that the decision to adopt online sale of forms and limit human intervention was not an indictment of its employees, but just to make the system more accountable and “people seeing credibility, if they win and if they are not successful, they will equally know that the system has, at least, given them a fair chance.”
Fashola, who described the launch of the portal as “the end game of our economic objective,” explained that the government did not just set out to build houses, adding that the project has served many purposes, the first of which was to test what sort of houses Nigerians would like to live in so as to make policies to guide its agencies and parastatals, as well as other stakeholders, to build what could be acceptable in the markets.
“We are the policy head of those parastatals, such as the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and so on. We are saying that the National Housing Programme had not succeeded in the past and some of the houses built then still remain empty. So, we conducted a national survey across the zones just to find out what is acceptable,” Fashola said.
The findings, he said, were that while in the Northern part of the country, there was preference for bungalow and large expanse of land, which encouraged building horizontally, in the Southern part, there seemed to be acceptance for blocks of flats and lack of space, which made building vertically necessary.
While pointing out that no foreign contractor was engaged in the project, Fashola said it was not only an opportunity for nation building, but also an opportunity for the contractors to sustain their staff.
President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Mr. Mustapha Isah, commended the Federal Government for its commitment to housing delivery.
He also lauded Fashola for innovations he has brought to bear at the national level, which, according to him, was a replication of his development initiatives as Governor in Lagos State.