For the Wasa Affordable Housing project in the Wasa District of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Nyesom Wike, is not happy with the N85 billion contract for the provision of infrastructure.
On Monday, Wike took the Minister of State for FCT, Dr. Mariya Mahmoud, and other government officials to the housing estate’s road building site, where he voiced his unhappiness.
The contract for the provision of the infrastructure was originally given in 2014 for N26 billion, but was amended to N85 billion in 2018. This was revealed by Mr Olusegun Olusan, acting Coordinator, Satellite Town Development Department.
According to Olusade’s report to the minister, the contractor has been paid a total of N21 billion so far, with a remaining balance of N64 billion, and 21.4% of the work has been completed.
The coordinator of the housing program emphasized that the government’s responsibility was to provide the land and infrastructure, and that private developers were responsible for constructing the homes and selling them to the public at low cost.
He continued by saying that the original plan for the project was to sell two-bedroom apartments to the general public for N7 million.
The minister was unimpressed by the FCT’s plan and emphasized that N85 billion should not be spent on useless infrastructure and land.
The agreement reached by the FCT does not impress us. The government cannot just hand out land to private developers who would build and sell without first spending at least N85 billion on the necessary infrastructure.
Such an arrangement is totally unapplaudable. Since the government is responsible for providing the land and the necessary infrastructure, we believe it should take part as well.
If we’re going to work with private individuals or developers, it stands to reason that we should supply them with land and necessary infrastructure. Then the government can take, say, 10% and the developers can take, say, 90% of the value,” he explained.
Wike claimed the government would have more control over the sale price of the houses to the public under such an arrangement, and that the masses could not afford to pay N7 million for a house.
He promised that the project will be reviewed so that the government could reap benefits and the general public could buy homes at affordable prices.
The minister explained that the lengthy delay of the project was due to the fact that FCT would not just give contracts for the sake of issuing them.
We will only accept contracts those we are confident we can complete before accepting any others. The lack of funds forces the cancellation of all contracts. “We are going to examine everything,” he was quoted as saying by NAN.