The Federal Government has pledged quick disbursement of funds to hasten ongoing construction of houses under the National Housing Programme (NHP). The Minister of State 1 for Power, Works and Housing, Alhaji Mustapha Shehuri, made the pledge while briefing Newsmen in Enugu on at the end of his inspection tour of NHP sites in Southeast zone of the country. Shehuri promised to facilitate payment to contractors once they raised certificate to enable quick completion of the housing projects nationwide. He said that “regarding the issue of funding, I will personally take the issue up and make sure that funds are made available when due to round up the project. “I am sure that funds are available and payment will be made when due to complete the projects. “The programme is in line with the President’s campaign promise to provide infrastructure to Nigerians. Federal Government is determined by bridging the national housing gap.” He appealed to state governments to settle NHP landowners to enable them to access the site for a successful project. The minister noted that in all the states he visited in the zone, none of the housing construction reached near completion like that of Enugu.
Earlier, Mrs Tina Ene, the Deputy Director, Department of Public Building and Housing of the ministry, had briefed the minister of the reports at the NHP site of Enugu, located at Ugwuogonike in Enugu East Local Government Area. Ene said 12 contractors were mobilised at the project site, some of the houses had gone beyond lintel level, while some had been roofed. She added that “we were given a couple of sites and this is one of the best; we have a lot of schools and estates coming up around here. “We also have the cooperation of indigenes of this place, as no one ever harassed us, instead, they protect us and our property.” The deputy director noted that from the inception of the programme, they relied on local materials as directed by the ministry to promote made in Nigeria products. She said “the doors, water cistern, tiles, windows, marble, kitchen sinks, including the roofing sheets are all locally made. “There are no locks that are manufactured in Nigeria, they are the only imported products we use, that is the challenge we have and an opportunity to investors because they are not produced in Nigeria.”
In addition, Mr Kenneth Onyekaba, a representative of the contractors of NHP in Enugu, said the housing construction of 72 units of one, two and three bedroom bungalows started in April 2017. Onyekaba said that at the beginning of the project, the terrain was difficult, adding that the foundation stage was difficult and took a lot of time and money. He also encouraged Federal Government to release funds for the project, adding that if funds would be provided, the houses would be completed early 2018. The NHP is one of the programmes of Federal Government to provide affordable and functional housing units to all Nigerians.