FG picks firm to audit houses in major cities
To ascertain numbers of vacant buildings, the Federal Government has commissioned a firm to take inventory of unoccupied housing units in major cities in each of the geopolitical zone.
Though the firm is not disclosed, the government said the exercise would unravel how long such houses were built in each state, their owners, and the reasons for being vacant.
Minister of Work and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who stated this when the Chairman of Senate Committee on Housing, Senator Sam Egwu and members visited him, regretted that many houses were not occupied by citizens.
Fashola cited Shagari Housing Estates in states, which were constructed many decades ago but are still empty, stressed that Gwarimpa Estate and FESTAC Town would be remodelled.
Similarly, Fashola expressed dismay over the inability of states and local councils to take ownership of completed building projects in their domain to start utilising them for the purpose, which they were meant for.
The minister further told the lawmakers that they have created a special project monitoring unit for better coordination of programmes, adding, “We inherited a lot of uncompleted projects nationwide.”
On maintenance policy, Fashola stressed that it should be carried out across the board to retain and prolong the lifespan of the assets, saying, we would assess and remodel schools, ports and hospitals.
According to him, the government is sourcing for more revenue to fund people-oriented infrastructure, adding that the ministry still has outstanding liability from 2010 to date.
He said: “Federal Housing Authority (FHA) needs N3 billion to complete 700 housing units at Zuba, an outskirt of Abuja. Again, the government plans to make FHA build houses while the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria finance them.”
Earlier, Senator Egwu stated that they were in the ministry to know how it has spent budgetary allocation, stressing that they have constitutional duty on departments and agencies of government.
“We want to have the first-hand report on the projects on this year’s budget. The Senate Committee would continue to partner with these agencies to deliver a democratic dividend to the citizens,” he added.