Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has advised Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Board to invest massively in housing development nationwide to further address the unemployment challenge in the country.
Fashola, who spoke after receiving the FHA board’s annual report in his office, urged the authority to replicate its ongoing 700 housing units in Abuja Mass Housing project in Zuba nationwide to engage 10,000 employees. He said if done in the 36 states of the federation and Abuja, it would create an ecosystem of opportunities for jobs and industrialisation.
He said through the project, the FHA has identified appropriately the critical role housing development could play in responding to and solving some of the problems and challenges facing the country.
Fashola said: “If you go to a site where over 700 housing units are being built and 10,000 people are benefiting and getting employment there, you are really then beginning to attack the social issues of exclusion, unemployment, joblessness and restoring the dignity of the human being.
“If we can have 10,000 people employed in each of the 36 states and the FCT, clearly we will be pushing the needle in a significant way. With SMEs making paints, wires, roofing sheets and all of the building materials, we will really be creating opportunities for labourers who use them, transporters, food vendors and others. It is a huge ecosystem of activities,” he said.
Pledging that his ministry would continue to compliment FHA’s efforts and what the Federal Mortgage Bank is doing to open up opportunities to allow for mortgage lending, the minister commended the Board for coming up with a report of its activities within one year of its inauguration.
“I cannot recall ever reading that a board of the FHA in the recent past ever submitted an annual report after one year. I am highly impressed that within a year of the inauguration of this board, FHA is able to look back while it projects forward to say let us go and report to those who appointed us. This is a strong validation of the current administration stance on accountability. What gets measured and reported gets done,” he said.
In his remarks before submitting the report, which covers March 2018 to March 2019, the board chairman, Senator Lawal Shuaibu said the report was aimed at highlighting efforts the board has made in its first year in injecting new ideas and designing strategies for improving governance and service delivery in the agency.
By Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie