N85bn Wasa Housing Project Poorly Negotiated – Wike

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr 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 the displeasure when he led the Minister of State for FCT, Dr Mariya Mahmoud and other government officials to visit 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.

Olusan told the minister that so far, a total of N21 billion had been paid to the contractor with a 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 the government’s role was to provide the land and infrastructure, while private developers will build houses and sell 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 at N7 million.

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

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

“This kind of arrangement is not commendable at all, 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 the houses would be sold to the masses, saying that the masses could not 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 who the houses were being built for could afford it.

On the project delay, which was nine years and counting, the minister said that FCT would not be awarding contracts for awarding sake.

“We will award contact 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,” the minister said.

Earlier, the minister visited the ongoing road construction leading to the Headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission and the Body of Benchers building.

The minister said that the contractor was invited for a meeting on Tuesday to work out ways to complete the road project.

“We have also been to Kabusa Junction, Abuja, where shanties were destroyed by development control. Like we said, we cannot allow shanties to take over the FCT.

“The development control has done well by making sure that the shanties in the area are destroyed and we are going to protect the area to ensure that the miscreants do not return to mess up the place again,” Wike said.

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