ABUJA, JANUARY 24, 2017 – The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola on Monday in Abuja raised alarm over the increasing number of unqualified estate developers in the nation’s housing sector.
Fashola was speaking at the Second Quarterly Presidential Business Forum in Abuja which serves as a platform to engage and interact with the private sector to update them on government’s policies, programmes and activities.
The forum was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
The minister lamented that out of every 20 to 30 housing estate proposal received by his ministry, they hardly secured one genuine proposal.
“The real experience we had is that perhaps out of every 20 to 30 proposals we receive you will be lucky to find one good one.
“We have heard people who come to us saying that they want to build 10,000 houses. But when we test their technical capacity, we found that they never built a house any where before.
“And the question I always ask is if it was really so easy to build 10,000 houses why do you need government if the market can absolve it, because there is a clear demand.
“But there are some missing links and the audit of previous commitments showed less than 10 per cent of success rate or the previous commitment entered into by the federal government for housing over the last decade had delivered only about 10 per cent of their expectations. So, something is wrong.
“We have people who come to us saying ooh that they want to invest money, they have five billion dollars in an account. I said, `where is the five billion dollars? because I know that the Ministry of Finance is looking to raise a billion dollars from a very credible risk.
“So, there are a lot of people also saying things that are not possible, ’’ he said.
The minister, however, noted that some members of the private sector had taken benefits of the existing government policies and legislation such as tax holiday under the guidelines issued by the ministry of finance for the development of public infrastructure.
He revealed that his ministry had entered into such agreement with some private companies including the Dangote Group and called on other companies to look at the model with a view to enabling them to benefit from such arrangements.
He reassured Nigerians that the federal government was committed to finding ways to pay verifiable outstanding debts to contractors across the country.
On power, the minister disclosed that some power projects would soon be completed in Kaduna and some states to boost electricity supply across the country.
In his contributions at the forum, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma said that there are a total of 59 strategies but 12 had been prioritised based on their importance to the success of the nation’s recovery plan.
He said as part of the recovery plan government would sell some of its identified but ‘yet-to-be-named’ assets to ensure speedy pulling out of economic recession.
According to him, federal government plans to restore crude oil production to 2.2 million barrels per day and raise it to 2.5 million by 2020 as part of its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
The minister said other strategies included acceleration of non-oil revenue generation, drastic cost cut, aligning monetary, trade and fiscal policies and expand infrastructure especially power, roads and rail and improve ease of doing business.
He said the strategies also included the expansion of the government’s social investment programmes, deliver on agricultural transformation, acceleration and implementation of the National Industrial Revolution Plan using special economic zones as well as focusing on priority sectors.