FG to provide cheap housing for all; resumes subsidy payment

Channels Television  
Updated June 20, 2012

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved a new housing policy which aims at providing mass housing for Nigerians at affordable rate.

Cross section of Ministers during a Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja.

The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, disclosed this while briefing journalists after this week’s FEC meeting presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo.

Mr Maku said the new policy, when operational, would provide additional employment opportunities and income generation in the country.

“Council deliberated on this policy and all of us appreciated the kind of effort, the energy, and the idea that went into the policy.

“Essentially this policy hopes to achieve certain strategic objectives for Nigeria. The first is that it hopes to bring about re-mass housing which this country has continued to dream about for decades.

“This policy emphasizes the central role of the private sector while the government serves as a regulator, as a policy facilitator.
“But, over and above this, the policy hopes to drive employment and income generation in the country.

“The Minister (Minister of Housing and Urban development) took pain to explain to us that in fact, far more than many sectors housing offers the opportunities for economic growth, GDP growth, job creation and driving income generation and welfare of people.’’

Adding to what Mr Maku said, the Minister of Housing and Urban development, Amal Pepple said that the new policy follows the work of a committee she set up to dust up all past works which have been silent on a policy that will make it possible for Nigerians to have a shelter over their heads.

Other special features in the policy include subsidy for what she called social housing projects, low income housing for workers in the formal and the informal sector as well as creation of jobs for the teeming unemployed Nigerians.

“There is one important issue that was brought up during our stakeholders forum, at the National Council; the issue of maintenance because a lot of our people, when we build a house we just leave it,” she said.

“Look at the block of flats in Abuja, I think I can’t remember, there was a ceremony we had and we had to go and repaint some of the houses. We don’t pay attention to maintenance. This we have also included in the policy.’’

Subsidy payment resumes

Also the Council approved the resumption of the payment of subsidy to approved oil marketers which was suspended following the probe in that sector. The minister of state for finance Yerima Ngama assures that claims for subsidy will now be properly processed to avoid the mistakes of the past.

The approval for the resumption of subsidies is designed to ensure that the country does not record any shortage in supply of petroleum products while it makes concerted effort to convince Nigerians on the need for total deregulation of the downstream sector.