The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Nyesom Wike, has voiced his displeasure regarding the N85 billion contract for infrastructure provision in the Wasa Affordable Housing project in Wasa District, Abuja.
He conveyed his concerns while leading a delegation, including the Minister of State for FCT, Dr. Mariya Mahmoud, and other government officials, to inspect the road construction site for the housing estate.
The contract for infrastructure provision was initially awarded at N26 billion in 2014 but was later revised to N85 billion in 2018.
According to Mr. Olusegun Olusan, acting Coordinator of the Satellite Town Development Department, a total of N21 billion has been disbursed to the contractor so far, leaving a balance of N64 billion. The progress report indicates that 21.4 percent of the work has been completed.
The housing project involves the government providing land and infrastructure, with private developers constructing houses to be sold at affordable rates to the public. At the project’s conception, a two-bedroom flat was expected to be sold for N7 million.
However, Minister Wike expressed dissatisfaction with this arrangement, emphasizing that the government should not spend N85 billion on infrastructure and land provision without benefiting from the project.
He suggested a different approach, stating, “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 the government, for example, can take 10 percent, and the developers take 90 percent, depending on the value.”
Wike emphasized the need for the government to determine house prices so that they remain affordable to the masses, who may not be able to afford N7 million for a house.
Regarding the project’s nine-year delay, Minister Wike stated that contracts would only be awarded when there is assurance of completion.
He also mentioned ongoing efforts to address issues related to shanties and development control in the FCT.
The minister is scheduled to meet with the contractor to discuss strategies for completing the road project leading to the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission and the Body of Benchers building.
He reiterated the commitment to preventing shanties from taking over the FCT and ensuring the area’s protection from miscreants.
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