FEDERAL MINISTRY OF POWER, WORKS & HOUSING

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LATEST PRESS
16 July, 2018

Housing Is A Catalyst For Development And Sustainable Economic Growth Says Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, has said that the present Administration has taken leadership role by demonstrating how provision of affordable housing can catalyze development and sustainable economic growth in Nigeria.

Fashola explained that President Buhari has used the National Housing Programme (NHP), presently active in 34 States of the federation in the last three years, as one of the tools to grow the economy and extricate the nation from recession.   According to him, ‘’we are able to employ, on the average, a thousand people at each of the 34 NHP sites, and this is only for the pilot stage’’.

The Minister stated this at the recently concluded 7th Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development held at the Banquet Hall, Gombe International Hotel, Gombe State with the theme ‘Provision of Affordable Housing: A Catalyst for Development and Sustainable Economic Growth’.

Speaking at the Council, Fashola urged Policy Makers and government at all levels to make efforts in consolidating on the achievements of the present government by building more houses and also proffer policies to address urbanization. He said that one of such policies is to consciously redistribute wealth and opportunities by strong commitments to programs like Agriculture and Mining.

The Minister stated that from his trips across the nation, ‘’I can tell you categorically that President Buhari’s investment in infrastructural development is impacting on the nations urbanization challenge in a positive way’’.

In his remarks, the Special Guest of Honour and the Host Governor, the Executive Governor of Gombe State, H.E. Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, commended the Ministry for choosing Gombe State as host, assuring that the Council meeting was bound to address the challenges facing Land Administration, Housing and Urban Development to enable the sector contribute meaningfully to the socio-economic development of the nation.

Dankwambo stated that access to quality and affordable housing is not only fundamental to the health and well being of families and communities, but critical to human survival. He urged Government at all levels to work assiduously in ensuring provision of affordable housing, particularly for the low and modest income earners in the country.

While he commended the efforts of the Federal Government in the construction of mass housing under the National Housing Programme (NHP), stating  that the state government has also consolidated on these gains with the construction of over  1, 000 housing units, fully completed and allocated to civil servants and the general public in the state.

Earlier, while addressing the meeting of the Permanent Secretaries at the state level and other stakeholders, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, (Works & Housing) Mohammed Bukar, said that the provision of affordable housing rest on the shoulders of all stakeholders in the industry, adding that ‘it is a collective duty to provide leadership for achieving the set objective’.

Bukar enjoined all stakeholders to make judicious use of the opportunity provided by the 7th Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development to deliberate on the memoranda submitted for consideration towards formulating and strengthening policies that will address the challenges in the built environment and making housing affordable to all Nigerians.

In her goodwill message, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winfred Oyo-Ita, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare, Mrs Didi Walson Jack, stated that the Council meeting is an auspicious moment bringing together key stakeholders in the housing sector to deliberate on policy issues geared towards the full delivery of mass housing. She commended the ministry for initiating and promoting the discuss on affordable housing in Nigeria

According to her, the Federal Executive Council in consideration of the need to reposition the civil service for greater productivity approved the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan, adding that one of the 8 goals of the Plan is to enhance the value reposition of Civil Servants via improving their access to affordable housing. She stressed that this initiative led to the creation of the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme by the Head of Service, which has assisted over       35, 000 civil servants to acquire homes through the provision of mortgage with a long term repayment plan.

The Council meeting ended with the issuance of a Communiqué unanimously agreed by all stakeholders to chat the way forward and also formulate a holistic Housing Policy for development and sustainable economic growth in Nigeria.

A total number of Thirty-four (34) memoranda were received and considered under the following four thematic groups:

i.                     Policy, Finance, Capacity Building for Affordable Housing Delivery;
ii.                   Building Consideration and Institutional Strengthening for Affordable Housing Provision;
iii.                  Urban Planning Provision for Affordable Housing; and
iv.                 Lands and Infrastructure Consideration for Affordable Housing.

FEC Approves N230billion For Roads Construction The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved N230.28 billion for road projects and mining data in the country. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Bawa Bwari, made this known when they briefed State House correspondents at the end of Council’s meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The minister of Information and Culture disclosed that N206 billion of the amount was approved for linking roads and associated infrastructures for the 2nd Niger Bridge linking Anambra and Delta states. Also approved today is a contract for the link road and associated infrastructures for the 2nd Niger Bridge. The link road is about 11.9 kilometers. The contract was awarded to Julius Berger at N206 billion. The bridge is linking Anambra and Delta states. If you remember, the contract was awarded by the last administration under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement which failed,’’ he added. According to him, N11.58 billion was approved for rehabilitation of a road in Enugu State. Approval for the re-award of the contract for the rehabilitation of Oji-Achi-Maku-Agu-Ndiabi section in Enugu State. What happened in this road was that the contract was awarded earlier to the company that failed and Setraco has now been re-awarded that section of the road, he added. He said another 92 million dollar was approved for engineering, procurement and construction of the OB3 gas pipeline project. The minister explained that the project had been awarded but there was need for redesigning it. The project is important because of delivery of gas from the Eastern part of the country to power turbines and to improve our power supply,’’ he said. According to him, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, also presented three memos which were approved by the Council. He said the memos included ratification of the multilateral competent authority agreement on automatic exchange of financial accounting information and ratification of the Africa 50th Articles of Association. The Council also gave the approval for the financial transparency policy guidelines. In his contribution, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Bawa Bwari, said that the Council approved N12.7billion for exploration and consultancy projects in the mining sector. According to him, the projects will help in getting accurate mining data, which will attract local and foreign investments. Our major challenge in diversification programme of the government in the mining sector has been that of data. Today the Federal Executive Council approved the contract for exploration and consultancy on some of our targeted minerals like gold, industrial minerals, earth metals, iron ore for four companies in exploration and four companies in consultancy side of it and this contract is worth N12.7 billion. "And with this, we will encourage both local and foreign investors to come in. Our Major challenge is the bankable data, most mining companies will not want to come into your country when they are not sure of what they are going to meet. Nigeria has the potential for minerals although we have not been known as a solid mineral destination, we have been known as oil and gas destination. The perception is gradually changing and for us to really encourage this people to come in, we really need to explore because you cannot mine without information and information can only be gotten through exploration. The government today approved for us to start with some of our targeted minerals in line with what we have in the road map,’’ he stated. (NAN)
5 July, 2018
BRF At 55 : Greying Gracefully, Going On With Gusto By HAKEEM BELLO In November 2010, in a tribute to Stephen J. Solarz, a former nine-term New York congressman, Douglas Martin wrote that he was a “torrent of activity” supporting it with a statement issued by the late lawmaker’s office that “during his first six months in Congress, he made 12 speeches on the House floor, co-sponsored 370 bills, held 11 news conferences, made 24 trips to his district and attended 99 events there, visited 23 subway stations, sent constituents 513,720 pieces of mail and took an 18-day tour of the Middle East.” In October 2015, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, was honoured amongst seven distinguished personalities with an award named for Stephen J Solarz by the International Crisis Group. From his eight-year tenure as the governor of Lagos State to his two-year-plus as Nigeria’s minister of Power, Works and Housing, our own BRF has, as the global conflict-prevention organisation acknowledged in conferring the honour on him, been a “relentless fighter for the improvement of people's lives….”  Barely a month after the global recognition of BRF’s “commitment to resolving social, economic and security challenges in one of the world’s most challenging urban environments”, President Muhammadu Buhari tapped him to join him in tackling the nation’s multifarious infrastructural challenges. Ever since, the three-in-one ministry has witnessed a “torrent of activity” towards the making life more meaningful for Nigerians of all strata. Has he lived up to the recognition of the ICG and the confidence reposed in him by President Buhari to deliver? His 55th birthday on 28 June affords us the opportunity to not only answer that question but also look at The Essential BRF.  For BRF, results rather than excuses should count towards measuring a leader’s gravitas. So, not for him any argument which suggests that , comparing an executive position with an appointive capacity within a complex federation such as Nigeria is like comparing apples with oranges. Not even if you illustrate with the now-common fiasco over the national budget as an example of a barrier to effective delivery of much-expected services to the people. Any unbiased but informed observer would, unhesitantly, proffer that, within those constraints, and with the unwavering support from his principal, the minister has demonstrated unflinching commitment to reducing Nigeria’s infrastructural deficit to the barest minimum, one project at a time, across Nigeria’s 36 states. One thing you can’t take away from BRF is his penchant for, to use a favourite word of his, dimensioning any problem, no matter how seemingly gargantuan. He is the master of drilling down. His staff at the ministry will attest to how, from the day of his inauguration, he has been engaging everyone in marathon consultations, sometimes into the night, to be able to put every problem in proper perspective and then ensuring that the job gets done - without any short-cut. A DEVELOPMENT MATRIX For him, nothing should be done superficially. Let’s take work on roads. He starts with the premise that good roads will help reflate and grow the nation’s economy, reduce travel time, cost of transportation of goods and services, and create jobs which will provide the economic means for the worker to live meaningfully. To achieve this, in the short term, would mean starting with roads which can be quickly completed to facilitate connectivity. This should further be guided by choosing first the roads which connect states together and bear the heaviest traffic such as the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, and working the way across Nigeria gradually. By sticking religiously to, and developing this plan, enunciated with his team in the Ministry with necessary policy and budgetary support from the Cabinet led by the President and National Assembly, albeit, with all the “constituency complications,” Fashola has been delivering on his mandate. On Power, Fashola believes that predictable supply achieved through incremental, stable, and, ultimately, uninterrupted supply of electricity, availability will be a critical and defining component of our economic renaissance, job creation, GDP growth and reduction of income inequalities. This has formed the basis of the Federal Government’s Roadmap to Power with the accompanying policies and plans like the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP) aimed at strengthening the responsibility of the Ministry as a regulator through the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), so that the GenCos and DisCos can be held to their contracts with citizens; getting the support needed to complete stalled power projects in the generation, transmission and distribution value chains; and improving the liquidity in the sector. Coming with a practical experience from Lagos, Fashola believes the construction of houses will complement the economic growth drive by direct and indirect jobs in the housing value chain from construction companies, to artisans, labourers, vendors and many more. The Federal Government’s housing project is currently going on in 34 States of the Federation which have provided the required suitable land for the programme, currently at its pilot stage and poised to address the issues of affordability, acceptability and climatic/cultural diversities which have been the bane of the previous housing programmes.  What used to be the standard question about how one man can cope with the leadership of three ministries comes less frequently in its monotony now because Fashola has continually demonstrated that tackling challenges is his second nature. Never mind that he has had to sleep less than the averagely-required hours and do unusual things - for instance in 2017 during an inspection of projects in the North East, he led the team to drive on the road by the dreaded Sambisa Forest in the thick of the night - whilst greying graciously but achieving results. By the way, Hamza Idris of the Daily Trust, who was on the trip, had asked him what gave him the courage to travel at that time, he answered as only a BRF would: “Well, I don’t think it is courage. I have a job to do and it has to be done well. If you are building and managing roads, you can’t manage them from slides, you can’t manage them remotely. You must at least see how good or bad those roads are. It gives a sense, either of urgency, enthusiasm, or a combination of both, to be able to really deal with it. The Ministry of Defence is aware that we are here, but the security arrangement is just precautionary. We have seen ordinary Nigerians travelling in their buses. I have seen the Taraba Mass Transit Services, Adamawa Express, Bauchi Express and others. So, life is going on and we just have a job to do.” There is no better way to end this birthday tribute to this quintessential man who is extremely loyal to his principal, political party and his principles, than quoting his answer to another question on that North East inspection trip:    “I am never satisfied with anything I am involved in; I just keep going. It’s difficult to satisfy me, and if you ask me to assess myself, I would continue to push myself.”
29 June, 2018
FG Flags-Off Reconstruction Of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Road The Federal Government has flagged-off the reconstruction of the 375.4 - kilometre Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Dual Carriageway, a vital link between the South and the North of the country. The existing road which has outlived its service life span of 20 years was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on December 20, 2017 to Messrs Julius Berger (Nigeria) Plc at a contract sum of N155, 470, 626, 078.07 (One Hundred and Fifty-Five Billion, Four Hundred and Seventy Million, Six Hundred and Twenty- Six Thousand, Seventy-Eight Naira and Seven Kobo) with a completion period of three years. The Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, performed the flag-off ceremony on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, at Chiromawa Town, Kano State, recently. Fashola pointed out that President Buhari requires the support of well meaning Nigerians to deliver on the mandate of rebuilding the nation. According to him, ‘’one of the objectives of the Economy Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the present Administration, lunched by Mr. President in 2016, is in fulfilment of the  promise to make Nigeria a globally competitive country’’. He added that a major critical action point of the ERGP was to renew, improve and increase the stock of infrastructure, particularly in the road sector. He stressed that the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road project will reduce the cost and time of travelling, as well as stimulate economic and social development in the country. The Minister noted that in the face of limited resources, the President approved the SUKUK bond to improve economic activities on 25 arterial roads spread across the six geo-political zones, adding that construction works are ongoing with teeming population of youth gainfully employed on these road projects being funded by the SUKUK bond. Earlier in his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Works and Housing, Alh. Mohammed Bukar, while thanking dignitaries that graced the flag-off ceremony, stated that the Ministry is vigorously pursuing the mandate of this Administration in the delivery of critical infrastructure across the nation. Alh. Bukar noted that the inauguration of the road project is a milestone achievement in the effort of the present Administration in bridging the infrastructural gap in the country. He said “the completion of the reconstruction works will no doubt reduce vehicle operating cost, improve travel time, reduce road accidents and stimulate the socio-economic growth and the general security of towns and cities along the corridor.” The Managing Director, Julius Berger (Nigeria) Plc, Engr. Wolfgang Goetsch, in his vote of thanks at the occasion, stated that the road is a high priority infrastructure of national significance which form an important part of the nation’s highways. He assured that with a strong and experienced workforce coupled with adequate equipment to fast track the execution of the project, the Company will deliver on schedule. In attendance, were the two Ministers of State I and II, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri and Surv. Sulieman Hassan Zarma, mnis respectively, the Executive Governor of Kano State, His Excellency Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, represented by the Deputy Governor Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, His Excellency, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai was represented by the Commissioner for Works and Transport, Hajiya Balaraba Aliyu Inuwa, the Chairman Senate Committee on Works, Senator (Arc). Kabiru Gaya, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Works, Hon. Toby Okechukwu represented by Hon. (Engr) Maren were among the high profile dignitaries that graced the occasion. His Royal Highnesses in attendance took turns to deliver goodwill massages, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Mohammadu Sanusi II commended the Federal Government for the project and urged the Ministry and Contractor to speed up the delivery of the project. Emir of Zazzau, His Royal Highness, Alh. (Dr). Shehu Idris also pledged his support and that of his people to safeguard the significant infrastructure. They both appreciated President Buhari and the Ministry in the award of the project and urged the Federal Government on road maintenance. Members of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and Tanker drivers who were well represented at the ground breaking occasion made an appealed to the Minister for a separate parking space.
28 June, 2018
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PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT
20 May, 2018

Multinational: Benin, Cote D’ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria And Togo And The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)

Study on the Abidjan – Lagos Corridor Highway Development Project

Notice for Expression of Interest

Recruitment Of A Consultant To Conduct A Corridor Economic & Spatial Development Initiative Scoping And Project Packaging Study For The Abidjan-Lagos Highway Corridor Highway Development Program

The ECOWAS Commission has received Grants from the African Development Fund (ADF) and the European Development Fund (through the African Investment Facility –AfIF) to cover the cost of studies on the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Development Project, and intends to use part of Grant amount to finance service Consultants Contract for Corridor Economic & Spatial Development Initiative (SDI) Scoping and Project Packaging Study for the Abidjan-Lagos Highway Corridor.

The services under this Contract mainly consist of: (i) defining the corridor’s zone of influence to show direct and indirect beneficiaries (populations, other economic activities, etc.) which the corridor affects and vice versa, using the appropriate technical methodology under the SDI concept; (ii) identifying and analyzing the significant developmental aspects of the various zones along the corridor; (iii) identifying a longlist of economic projects (trade, logistics, industry, etc) within the geographical zone of influence of the Corridor, that are worth developing as part of the multinational highway project to result in a holistic economic development corridor, (iii) data gathering, and scoping (shortlisting) of SDI projects; (iv) developing regulatory and institutional framework for the holistic development of the corridor as an economic development corridor; (v) perform economic and financial analysis of selected projects to determine the nature of investments required for further development and (vi) develop an Abidjan-Lagos corridor economic development investment & marketing plan.

Feasibility and Detailed Engineering Studies are to be conducted per the following lots to cover the entire corridor: (i) Lot 1: Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire)-Takoradi (Ghana), 295.3 km; (ii) Lot 2: Takoradi-Apimanim  (Ghana)-Accra (Ghana)–Akanu/Noepe Border (Ghana), 466 km; and (iii) Lot 3: Akanu (Ghana)-Noepe (Togo)-Lome (Togo)-Agonmey Glozoun (Togo)-Athieme (Benin)-Cotonou (Benin)-Seme-Krake (Benin/Nigeria)-Lagos (Nigeria), 320.06 km.  All distances provided are indicative and could be more depending on the eventual confirmation of alignments by Member States. 

The overall duration of the Feasibility and Detailed Engineering technical studies is estimated at twenty seven (27) months for each lot and the Corridor Economic and Spatial Development Study shall cover the entire corridor for a period of twelve (12) Months with some interim outputs (impacts from shortlisted projects) that could be taken on board by the feasibility and detailed design Consultants.

The ECOWAS Commission invites Consultants (firms with proven experience in spatial development initiatives, economic corridor development, urban and land use planning, transport infrastructure engineering firms for large-scale infrastructure projects) to submit their candidacy for the services described above. Interested, eligible and qualified consultants must produce information on their ability and experience demonstrating that they are qualified for services of similar nature. The shortlisting criteria shall be: (a) general experience in Economic Corridor Development, urban planning and development services (Studies, Technical Assistance, Project Management,) over the last ten (10) years; (b) specific experience in the field of studies of spatial development and establishment of economic zones along multinational highway corridors during the last ten (10) years; (c) Specific experience in cross-border or multinational land-use planning over the past ten (10) years; (d) availability of key personnel (list, qualification, experiences); (e) logistical and equipment; (f) IT Resources and specialized software, etc. (g) capacity to produce reports and all other relevant documents on the study in English and French.

NB: Each reference will be summarized on a project sheet, and will be considered only if the candidate attaches supporting documents indicating the contact information of the contracting authorities so as to facilitate verification of the information provided: Excerpts of contract (inner cover page and page with the signatures) plus Attestation of good performance.

Consultants may form groups to increase their chances of qualification.

The eligibility criteria, the preparation of shortlist, and the selection procedure shall comply with the African Development Bank’s Procurement Framework for operation funded by the Bank Group as of October 2015 available on the Bank’s website: http://www.afdb.org. The selection procedure will be based on Quality Based Selection Method (QBS), and a shortlist of six (6) firms which present the best profiles shall be drawn up after the expression of interest. Also the firms that are part of an international network are to submit one expression of interest.

Interested consultants can obtain further information at the e-mail addresses mentioned below during working hours: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon (local time) on working days: procurement@ecowas.int with copy to pgueye@ecowas.int; vtulay@ecowas.int; cappiah@ecowas.int ; deklu@ecowas.int ; sbangoura@ecowas.int

Expressions of interest must be delivered in a written form (one (1) signed original plus four (4) copies) in (person, or by registered mail) to the address below, not later than 14th June, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. (GMT+1), Nigerian Time, and must be clearly marked: “Studies on the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Development Project/Expression of Interest in Consulting Services for Corridor Economic and Spatial Development Initiatives Study”.

For delivery in person or by registered mail to:

Directorate, General Administration, Procurement Division
First (1st) Floor of the ECOWAS Commission Headquarters,
Plot 101, Yakubu Gowon Crescent,
Asokoro District, Abuja,
NIGERIA.

Requests for further information or clarification could be sent by e-mail:
Attention : Commissioner General Administration &Conference
Email : vtulay@ecowas.int

with copies to :

* sbangoura@ecowas.int
* procurement@ecowas.int
* cappiah@ecowas.int
* pgueye@ecowas.int
* deklu@ecowas.int

The working languages shall be English and French. The Expression of Interest will be submitted in English.

OTHER NEWS
31 May, 2018

Abeokuta Substation Gets New 60MVA Transformer To Improve Electricity

The yearning to ensure qualitative and stable power to Nigerians has made the Federal Government to upgrade the 132/33KVA Abeokuta Transmission Substation with the installation of a new 60 Mega Volt Ampere (MVA) capacity transformer to boost electricity supply in Abeokuta and its environs.

Addressing the Minister of State II Power, Works and Housing, Surveyor Suleiman Hassan Zarma, who was on an inspection tour to the substation recently, the Assistant General Manager Transmission, Papalanto Sub – Region of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Engr. Adeonipekun Adesina said the transformer upon its complete installation would complement the three existing ones at the station.

According to him, the station has 3 transformers of 30MVA each, making a total of 90MVA. But with the new one, the station will now have a 150MVA wheeling capacity.  “It used to be a 90MVA Substation. But with the introduction of the new transformer, there will be more power to deliver to the masses and there will be steady supply of electricity”, Adeonipekun said.

Adeomipekun disclosed that the transformer when energized, would improve power supply to Abeokuta Township, Imeko, and Lagos Road, part of Sagamu and University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. In his address, the Minister re-affirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to increasing power supply in the country. Saying “the Federal Government is investing in the expansion of transmission capacity through the TCN by building more substations and expanding existing ones”, adding that the transformer which is installed by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), under the National Integrated Power project (NIPP) of the Federal Government is aimed at driving the industries, boosting the economy, creating employment opportunities to our teaming youth in Abeokuta and the country in general.

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SPEECHES
12 July, 2018

Keynote Address By The Honourable Minister Of Power, Works And Housing, At The 7th National Council On Lands, Housing, And Urban Development, Held At Gombe State

Protocol

Ladies and Gentlemen, I once again have the honor and pleasure to address this Council. This year, I do so around the theme of our meeting, which is ‘The Provision of Affordable Housing: A Catalyst for Development and Sustainable Economic Growth’.

Permit me to first express our profound gratitude on behalf of the Federal Government to the Government and good people of Gombe State for accepting to host this annual Council Meeting of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.

The event would not have been possible without the exceptional commitment of His Excellency, Dr. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, the Executive Governor of Gombe State and members of his cabinet, especially the Hon. Commissioner for Metropolitan and Urban Planning Development, Mrs. Fatima Abubakar, on whom the responsibility for the organization of this event fell. Permit me, therefore, to wholeheartedly appreciate His Excellency for his resilient leadership qualities.

I wish to start by saying that at all levels of our Government, there is something that can be done about Housing and we should commit to doing so across partisan lines.

Very often, when the discussion about the lack of Housing begins, it either revolves around the size of the Deficit or the Cost of the houses or the pointing of fingers as to who should do what and has not done so.

Very rarely do those discussions bring up solutions or action points.  Problems clearly cannot be solved by simply talking about them.

No matter what we say, unless we begin to act, it changes nothing. Strangely, we have had this conversation daily, and across election cycles of 4 years, each that I shudder to ask whether we take time to reflect.

I have stopped talking many years ago and have started acting, and whether it is at State or National level, I can point to my contribution and that of my Staff and say, “We did something.” Can you?

But before I continue, permit me to indulge those who spend their time on the debate about the size of the deficit and ask how educated and informed that debate is. Who conducted the census that produced the figures in the Deficit?

Who verified the figures that now seem to trap many of our people in a vortex of difficulty?

Does the deficit take into account the empty and unoccupied houses in every State of Nigeria?

Are these housing deficits in sub-urban, rural areas or in the urban centers?

Why is there urbanization, and why is housing shortage a problem of urbanization?
It seems to me that as Policy Makers, before we even start to build houses, the first thing we can do is to address urbanization by policy.

One of the policies is to consciously redistribute wealth and opportunities by strong commitments to programs like Agriculture and Mining.

These are rural-centric economic decisions that take wealth and opportunities to the rural areas, and slow down migration to the urban centers in search of opportunities.

From my trips across the States, I can tell you categorically that President Buhari’s commitment to infrastructure, which is driving mining and the Agricultural focus is already impacting on our urbanization challenge in a positive way.

Work at quarries and on cash crop farms, which are situated in the rural areas, is now getting to the people; instead of them coming to look for it in the urban centres.

All of us, as critical shareholders, can deepen these to the recesses of our States where President Buhari cannot reach.

As we slow down the migration, we must now provide homes to the people, starting in the urban centres where the need is greatest.

This is what President Buhari has done with the National Housing Project Pilot in the 34 States that gave us land.

Once again, the President has asked me to thank all those Governors who gave us land. Because of them, we are able to employ, averagely, a thousand people at each of those sites, and this is only for the pilot stage.

And this is the heart of the matter. The reason for our theme, ‘Why Housing Can and Should be the Catalyst for Development and Sustainable Economic Growth.’

If you have been involved as I have been, you will know that the people employed at housing sites are Builders, Welders, Carpenters, Electricians, Bricklayers, Water and Food Vendors, and other suppliers along with Labourers.

They are the people who are largely paid on a daily basis or on weekly, or at best monthly basis.

These are some of the most vulnerable people in our economy as they are in other economies. Whenever Government can reach these people and provide work for them, you know that such an economy is working.

President Buhari has reached these people. I have met them and we need to do more by multiplying the Housing commitment.

But beyond building houses, there is the problem of affordability and definition.

It seems to me that whether it is to buy or to rent, affordability will always be an issue. But we must start by making clear to our people that not everyone can afford to buy or own a house, but it is ideal to at least seek to shelter everybody who has a job, by rental which is affordable.

The question therefore is that after we have provided work for these vulnerable people, which pays them weekly or monthly in arrears, is it affordable for them when they seek to rent houses, and we ask them to pay one or two years rent in advance.

This is not Government, this is us, the landlords, and we can change this by accepting monthly rent in arrears secured with their employer’s guarantee.

If this happens, we will see how housing will catalyse our economy. When my rent is matched to my income, you and I will be witnesses to a release and relief of millions of people who seek help to pay their rent even though they have a job.

As for those who wish to buy houses, mortgages are the solution and we must issue more.

The Federal Mortgage Bank is mandated to do so, not only by re-capitalisation but also by granting the following exemptions:

A)    0% equity for loans not exceeding N5million
B)     Reduction of equity from 20% to 10% for loans up to N6 – 15million.

This is in addition to a planned re-capitalisation and the opening of the National Housing Fund (NHF) to non-Government employees.

Between May 2015  and July 10, 2018 the FMBN has issued 3,862 mortgages to Nigerians to acquire their own homes.

But this is not all that is happening or can happen in the Economy with an appropriate commitment to Housing.

The Oil and Gas sector can also benefit enormously from Housing if we all commit to implementing the Gas master plan.

At the moment we are under utilizing our Gas resources especially in the area of domestic use for cooking and heating.

In order to take the benefit of this gift of Nature, our Ministry is working with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to develop standards for pipes and installations that will facilitate domestic use of Gas for cooking and heating.

Ladies and Gentlemen, these are some of the ways that housing provision can catalyze development and economic growth.

The Federal Government can, and has taken leadership by showing the way.

Large scale nationwide impact now depends on what we do at the State, Local Government and private sector levels.

Therefore I will close by urging you to do something – build a house.

Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing

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Photo News
10 July, 2018

FASHOLA BRIEFS THE PRESS ON THE STATE OF PLAY IN THE POWER SECTOR NEXT STEPS AND POLICY DIRECTIONS

Hon Minister of Power Works Housing Mr Babatunde FasholaSAN middle Minister of State Surv Suleiman Zarma Hassan right and Permanent Secretary Power Engr Louis Edozien left during the HonMinisters Press Briefing onthe State of Play in the Power Sector Next Stepsand Policy Directions at the Ministry of PowerWorks Housing Headquarters Mabushi Abuja on Monday 9th July 2018

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14 July, 2018

7TH NATIONAL COUNCIL ON LANDS HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT HELD AT GOMBE STATE

Alh Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo Governor of Gombe State Center Minister of Power Works and Housing HM Babatunde Fashola SAN right and the Deputy Gvernor Gombe State Hon Charles Iliya

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