December 5, 2023

Wike frowns at N85bn Wasa housing project

Wike frowns at N85bn Wasa housing project

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, has expressed dissatisfaction with the N85 billion contract for the provision of infrastructure for the Wasa Affordable Housing project in Wasa District, Abuja.

Wike expressed his displeasure when he led the Minister of State for FCT, Dr Mariya Mahmoud, and other government officials to the road construction site for the housing estate on Monday.

Earlier, Mr Olusegun Olusan, acting Coordinator, Satellite Town Development Department, explained that the contract for the provision of the infrastructure was awarded in 2014 at N26 billion but revised to N85 billion in 2018.

Olusade told the minister that so far, a total of N21 billion had been paid to the contractor, with an outstanding balance of N64 billion, adding that the percentage of work done so far is 21.4 per cent.

On the housing scheme, the coordinator explained that government’s role was to provide the land and infrastructure, while private developers were to build houses and sell them to the masses at affordable rates.

He added that at the conception of the project, a two-bedroom flat was to be sold to the masses for N7 million.

However, the minister was not impressed with the arrangement made by the FCT, stressing that the government should not spend N85 billion to provide infrastructure and land for nothing.

“We are not impressed with the arrangement made by the FCT. Government cannot just cough out N85 billion for infrastructure and then give land out to private developers who will build and sell.

“This kind of arrangement is not commendable at all. We think that the government must also participate, having provided the land and infrastructure.

“If we are partnering with private individuals or developers, the common sense is that you provide the land, provide infrastructure, and they come and develop. Then government, for example, can take 10 per cent then the developers take 90 per cent, depending on the value,” he said.

Wike said that under such arrangements, the government would be able to determine the price at which the houses would be sold to the masses, saying that the masses cannot afford N7 million for a house.

He said that the project would be revisited for proper planning in a way that the government would benefit from the project and ensure that the masses for whom the houses were being built could afford them.

On the delay of the project, which has been in the making for nine years, the minister said that FCT would not be awarding contracts for the sake of awarding.

“We will award contracts that we know we will finish before embarking on another contract. Every contract is abandoned because there is no money. So, we are going to look at everything,” NAN quoted him as saying.

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