BY JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU
ABUJA – PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan will on Wednesday perform the ground breaking ceremony for the N960 billion housing scheme that would be made affordable for Nigerian workers to reduce homelessness some of them face after a meritorious service to their father land.
President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Abdulwahed Omar and the Managing Director of Kriston Lally EPC, Alhaji Mustapha Madawaki who disclosed this at the weekend said the housing scheme to be launched same day would be for members of the labour union that indicate interest in the scheme.
The $6 billion affordable housing scheme partnership between the NLC and the private property developer, Kriston Lally EPC Nigeria Limited will be for Nigerian workers in all the 36 states including the FCT.
The NLC President and the Managing Director of Kriston Lally during press briefing disclosed that President Jonathan would perform the ground breaking ceremony on Wednesday in Karsana, Abuja.
It will be recalled that the two parties signed the housing scheme agreement April last year, at the Labour House, Abuja.
The NLC boss who was worried by the 40 million housing deficit in the country as revealed by a United Nations study, said the congress plan was to build affordable houses for all willing NLC members, and any Nigerian worker that indicate interest in the scheme.
Comrade Omar said: “On the issue of housing, we are very serious about it and by the grace of God before we leave office we hope to see that quite a number of workers would have gotten shelter.
“The most important thing is that we would have laid a foundation whereby on continuous basis, Nigerian workers will continue to get houses in a very easy way by just depositing 10 per cent and then get a house that they will continue to pay for over a period of time.
“What we are after is to lay this very solid foundation for Nigerian workers and it is not only workers in Abuja, but workers all over the country.
“So far, we have written letters to so many state governors and the responses have been very positive. They are also very eager; many of them have promised giving us lands. In fact some have already allocated land for this purpose.
“You know that the moment you are able to get land, you have removed a substantial part of the cost of the house and then with this kind of arrangement where somebody will just pay 10 per cent and then subsequently when you get the house you start paying the balance over a period of time.
“I am positive that we are going to provide quality and affordable housing for Nigerian workers. Kriston Lally is just one; perhaps I should say it is a star among all the private developers that we are working with. We have also seen many proposals seeking to partner with the congress but we are taking our time.
“Apart from Kriston Lally, we are also working in a tripartite situation with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, with NECA, that is the employers’ association, and on the other side NLC and TUC. That is also a very big project, we are making progress.”
Also speaking, the MD of Kriston Lally, Alhaji Madawaki said with the launch by President Jonathan, the scheme had taken off fully and assured that the NLC and Kriston Lally have done everything to ensure that Nigerian workers, especially those who have subscribed for the first phase get their houses as scheduled.
He said: “In practical term, we are ready. We have cleared our sites. We have imported block making factory. It is already in Abuja. We have mobilized virtually all our staff that are suppose to be on sites and our sub-contractors are all sensitized and ready. So, in practical term, we as company are ready.
“We initially have contacted the President through the Nigeria Labour Congress, wanting Mr. President to be the one to lay the foundation ceremony for the project and this will be done this Wednesday.
“We felt it is important that we wait for the President to give us a date. We wouldn’t want to jump the gun by just going into the site to do that. But I can honestly tell you that we believe by the end of this month, that is Wednesday, the President will performe the ground breaking ceremony and will be moving to site fully.”
On the fear that the delay would probably affect the December 2014 delivery date promised to subscribers, he assured that the deadline would not suffer.
He said: “The issue of the deadline is not going to suffer, because if you look at the pilot study which is the first phase, we are only concentrating on 5,000 houses in Abuja. It is the second phase that will involve Abuja, PortHarcourt, Lagos, Imo State and Adamawa, and that will be huge number.
“So, delivering 5,000 houses in 10 months is not a problem. We are prepared because we have over 70 sub-contractors, we have 12 construction companies of our own. So even if we just give 70 or 80 houses to each and everyone of them, I think each one of them should be able to develop 70 houses in 10 months.
“I said 10 months, because in the last two months, we have done the initial work like clearing and importing all the necessaru eqquipment. we were only waiting for the President of this country, who is workers friendly and also determine to provide shelters for all Nigerians to performe the launch.”
To make it workers friendly, the interest rate is put at 2% per annum of the total amount of the property, which can be spread over 5, 10 or 15 years, depending on the choice of each dubscribers.
This, according to Omar and Madawaki is well below what is available in the Nigerian mortgage market today.
The houses that would be provided include: Two and three bedrooms bungalows, semi-detached or fully detached bungalows; two and three bedrooms in a block of flats; and four bedrooms semi-detached and fully detached duplex.
According to Omar, the housing estates would also include construction of a four-star hotel with a 180-guestroom capacity.