DETERMINED not to hand over uncompleted housing projects to the incoming administration, the Lagos State Government will not embark upon any new housing schemes. Rather, it will channel its resources to ensure that all ongoing projects are completed before the May 29 handover date.
The Commissioner for Housing, Mr. Dele Onabokun who disclosed this to newsmen, also called on private sector developers to come and partner with the State to provide housing for the low-income segment of the society. Under this arrangement, Lagos State will provide the land as its equity contribution while the developer will build the houses. The profit accruing from the sale will be shared by the two parties.
“What we have in the current budget for housing is to complete all housing projects we started last year. We want to make sure that we complete all the houses so that we don’t have any uncompleted projects before the new administration takes over,” he said.
Mr. Onabokun claimed that 60 percent of the houses built by the State Government are for the low-income earners. Justifying the high cost of selling the “low-income estates”, the Commissioner who is a quantity surveyor said: “Most of the materials we use in building are imported which means that the Lagos State Government does not have control over the cost -cement, reinforcements, even sharp sand and granite.
We don’t have control over the cost but when we build, we don’t build for profit. That is why the cost of some of these houses will be high. For example, when we came in 2007, a two-bedroom bungalow in Okeletu housing estate was going for about N2.5 million but compare the cost of living and the cost of materials now, if you are going to get that type of building constructed now, there is no way you can get it less than N5 million. So, we are trying and don’t forget that as a government, we have so many areas to attend to”.
The Commissioner debunked the assertion that the Government does not subsidise the cost of houses purchased by low-income earners.
“When it comes to matters of subsidy, I can tell you that we subsidise. For example, the housing estate we built at Oderagusi in Epe local Government Area, the government subsidised it by about 50 percent. When you arrive at the cost of a building, don’t forget that you will also include the cost of infrastructure, roads, waterworks, fence and when we build our estates, for any one that is more than 100 units, we provide police post, clinic, shopping malls and all these must be part of the building, so we subsidise,” he said.