By Gbenga Olarinoye, Osogbo.
The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola has said that the federal government had through 2016 National Housing Programme generated about 64,000 jobs across the nation.
He stated that the government apart from addressing housing deficit in the country by injecting over 2,000 housing units, the present administration has succeeded in reducing unemployment across the nation.
Fielding questions from newsmen in Osogbo yesterday while on inspection tour of the site of Federal Housing Programme for Osun state state in Abeere, the minister disclosed that all categories of workers in the construction industry benefited from the program.
Represented Mr Olasunkanmi Dunmoye, the South-West Zonal Director of the program, the minister, who described the Osun site with 68 housing units comprising of 44 units of 2 bedroom flats, 20 units of 3-bedroom flats and 4 units of 1bedroom, as the best in the region, also commended the state governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola for donating large expanse of land free of charge for the programme.
Fashola also added that letters have been forwarded to all state governors in the country to provide land for the second phase of the programme.
He added that the programme, which took off simultaneously in 34 states across the country in January, 2017, would be the second real attempt after Shagari administration’s Low Cost Housing Scheme, by the federal government to address housing challenges facing the country.
He then called on stakeholders in the programme not to relent but to gear efforts towards making it a resounding success.
His words: “From contractors to artisans and suppliers, over 2,000 jobs were created in Osun site of the programme alone. In other 33 states where the programme is currently on, no less than 2000 jobs must have been created also.
“So, apart from addressing our housing needs as a country, this 2016 National Housing Programme has created over 64,000 job opportunities for our people across the country. More jobs will be created when the second phase starts”, Fashola said.
The representative of Osun state governor, Town Planner Amidu Folaranmi, in his remarks, pledged total commitment of the state government to the programme, saying many indigenes of the state have benefited from the programme through direct and indirect employment opportunities.
Speaking on behalf of contractors handling some of the projects, Mr. Kola Awokoya, commended the federal government for the initiative, but advised that perimeter fencing should be constructed round the site.