A big relief is coming the way of the federal government workers as President Goodluck Jonathan, in continuation of his efforts to reduce the housing deficit in the country, has launched about 10,000 units of various types of houses under the Nationwide Workers’ Housing Scheme in Apo Tapyi District, Abuja.
Jonathan while commencing the scheme on Thursday said the target of his administration is to deliver about 100,000 housing units under the Nationwide Workers’ Housing Scheme in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the 36 states of the federation.
The president noted that the initiative is part of the transformation agenda of his administration to provide adequate and affordable houses to Nigerians particularly, the workers.
“The federal government will continue to partner with the private developers to provide affordable houses to bring down the cost houses in the country”, he said.
Also, Jonathan lauded the efforts and the seriousness to the scheme by the developer, Good Homes Development Company Limited and urged other developers to emulate the entrepreneurial skills of Good Homes.
He commended the kind gesture of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) in partnering the federal government on project of providing shelter to the workers, and urged all Nigerian workers to key into the scheme to enable the government make this houses available at the scheduled time.
The president also used the occasion to call on the labour unions in the country to always exploit avenues of discussion and negotiations first before embarking on any strike; stressing that strikes cause hardship to the ordinary people.
Earlier, FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed remarked that the right to shelter is an economic, social and cultural right as recognized in many national constitutions and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Mohammed stated that it was in recognition of this right that President Jonathan administration placed high premium on provision of housing for all in the transformation agenda of the federal government.
He said over the period of time, FCT had been dynamic in providing initiatives such as Accelerated Development, Affordable Housing and District Development to address prevailing housing deficit.
According to the, “the Land Swap initiative represents our strategy for leveraging private capital in the provision of infrastructure and housing with the expectation of development of 15 districts to provide houses for more than one million residents and creating 500,000 new jobs with capital inflow of about one trillion Naira in the next five years”.
On the Nationwide Workers’ Housing Scheme, the ninister revealed that the FCT Administration (FCTA) gave a waiver of about N28 billion on the land premium and about N550 million waiver on building plan approval.
He emphasised that his administration gave these waivers to make the houses even more affordable to the workers who are the end beneficiaries.
Speaking at the occasion, the NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar thanked the federal government for this wonderful partnership, which he restated, would go a long way in alleviating the sufferings of the workers.
Omar appreciated the waivers by the FCT minister and urged the developers to reflect the waivers in the prices of the houses to be delivered to the workers.
Speaking also, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Danladi Kifasi at the occasion expressed the loyalty of the Civil Servants to the Federal Government.
The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and Supervising Minister of Labour and productivity, Mrs. Akon Etim Eyakenyi and Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN), respectively also spoke at the occasion.