Over 10, 000 Applicants Subscribe To FG’s National Housing Programme
* As Ministry advices against use of invalid documents
As Nigerians continue to respond with enthusiasm to the Ministry of Works and Housing’s portal recently opened for an opportunity to subscribe to the Federal Government’s National Housing Programme, over 10,000 applications have been received through the portal.
However, following dedicated attention to the processing of the applications by the Web Management Team, the Ministry has advised applicants to ensure strict compliance to the requirements by uploading complete and only valid documents on the portal.
Responding to complaints by subscribers having difficulty in applying, the Ministry has re-emphasised the requirements for the online registration for the prospective applicants to be valid and successful as; passport photograph, current certified Tax Clearance/Payment Slip and means of Identification such as current National I.D, Drivers licences, International passport and Voter Card as well as letter of first appointment and Gazette of confirmation of appointment (for Public Servants).
The Ministry explained the reasons why some applications are not successful to include; not having current Tax Clearance Certificate, evidence of Tax Clearance, no Pay Slip, non-submission of Memorandum of Acceptance (MOA), incomplete or inconsistent documents and not having valid means of Identification or submission of expired one.
The Ministry assured that all prospective applicants who complied with all the registration requirements will have a hitch free subscription and successful applicants for the homes will be notified via the e-mail addresses they supplied. Alternatively, applicants can log in to their profile to check the status of their application.
The Ministry had recently launched an online Web-Portal: https://nhp.worksandhousing,gov.ng for the sales of the completed houses across some states of the federation and the online sales is on-going.
The National Housing Programme (NHP) is a Federal Government of Nigeria’s development agenda for addressing Housing needs.
The programme commenced in the year 2016 in 34 States and the FCT.
Following an approval by the Federal Executive Council, the completed housing units all over the country are to be sold to low and medium income groups through mortgage and Rent-to-Own subscription windows
With the unveiling of the portal, Nigerians can now apply for the houses in the 34 states and FCT of the country by paying a Non-Refundable application fee of N10, 000.00 (Ten Thousand Naira) only through Remita. Thereafter, a pin would be generated for the applicant access to the portal to complete the application process.
The breakdown of the status update as recorded on they web-portal platforms as at Thursday, shows that, out of the total number of 10,543 applicants, 10,206 applications are pending, 238 applications have been successfully submitted and 115 applications were approved.
The Ministry hereby appeal for strict compliance with the stipulated requirements for easy processing and approval of applications.
10TH MEETING OF NATIONAL COUNCIL ON LANDS, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
THEME: "HOUSING DEVELOPMENT AS A CATALYST FOR JOB CREATION, SOCIAL INCLUSION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT"
REMARKS BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF WORKS AND HOUSING, MR BABATUNDE FASHOLA, SAN, AT THE PROJECT COMPLETION AND HAND OVER FLAG OFF ON THURSDAY 25TH NOVEMBER, 2021 AT KOKO/BESSE LGA, KEBBI STATE
On behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria and President Muhammadu Buhari, I bring good tidings to the peoples and Governments of Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger States, who will be impacted by the Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega-Kontagora-Makera Road that our President will hand over today.
My principal message to you all is that this is the first of many more project Completion and Handovers our country will experience in the next few weeks and months as we enter what l call a season of completion and impact.
In this phase of completion Mr. President has approved that Ministers from the various States where projects have been completed should represent him to perform the handover formalities.
The other handing over formalities that will follow these formalities which we flag off today in Kebbi will be in:
a) Jigawa for Section II covering 142.2 x 2 (dual) Kilometers between Shuwarin and Azare, connecting Jigawa and Bauchi States.
b) Bauchi for Section III covering 106.3 x 2 Kilometers between Azare and Potiskum , connecting Bauchi and Yobe States.
c) Benue for Vandeikya-Obudu Cattleranch Road covering 24 Kilometers connecting Benue and Cross River States.
d) Ebonyi for Nnewe- Uduma- Uburu Road covering 26.27 Kilometers with 14 Kilometers spur to Ishiagu connecting Enugu and Ebonyi States.
These projects represent major investment in road Transport infrastructure, which is a commitment of the Buhari administration as a driver for economic growth and prosperity.
They are visible and incontrovertible Assets in proof of what Nigeria’s resources are invested in, from a combination of our earned resources, and borrowings.
This occasion affords another opportunity to acknowledge the impact of the Sukuk funding in the completion of Azare – Potiskum, Shuwarin – Potiskum and Sokoto-Tambuwal- Kontagora Roads.
The Sukuk is currently contributing to progress of work on 44 roads across Nigeria and as we complete them, events like this will hold.
I want to express gratitude of our Government to the investors in the Sukuk and thank the Ministry of Finance, and the members of the National Assembly, especially the Chairmen of the Senate and House Committees on Works in the 8th and 9th Assembly for their support.
Our gratitude to the Debt Management Office is deep and continuing for their role in previous SUKUKS which have been most innovative and impactful nationwide, and for the Sukuk we are expecting.
To our staff and contractors who have worked very hard to bring these projects to conclusion I also say thank you, as I cannot fail to acknowledge the cooperation of the host communities where these projects pass through or are hosted.
I hold them out as examples of what peace can achieve, and the investments that collaboration and some sacrifice can deliver if we embrace partnership with Government.
Ladies and Gentlemen, none of these would have been possible without the support of Ministers in the Federal Executive Council during debates over the projects.
To all Ministers in the first term and this current term, I express gratitude on behalf of the Ministry of Works and Housing for your support.
To the President and Vice President who preside for long hours over the Council meetings, your leadership is now bearing fruits and the evidence of change is now manifesting.
Bauchi, Jigawa, Benue, Cross Rivers, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Enugu and Ebonyi bear witness and there is more to come.
BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA, SAN
MINISTER OF WORKS AND HOUSING
Stakeholders In The Built Industry Meet In Lagos
Stakeholders in the built industry have converged in Lagos for the 10th Meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development deliberate on ways to move the industry forward with a view to creating employment, social inclusion and economic development of Nigeria.
The theme of the meeting is " Housing Development As A Catalyst for Job Creation, Social Inclusion and Economic Development.
The meeting of the National Council on Lands Housing and Urban development is organized annually by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing as part of its statutory mandate.
In his introductory remarks, the Director, Planning, Research & Statistics, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Olajide Ode-Martins, said that the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development is the highest policy making organ of the Housing Sector where stakeholders in the sector engage in critical evaluation of and proffer solutions to challenges facing the sector.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Lands Bureau Olabode Agoro, identified housing development as a critical key to achieving the Federal government's vision of pursuing social economic renewal, inclusive of job creation and overall national as well as individual development
Agoro, who urged participants to actively evaluate the challenges facing the built industry in relation to Job Creation and national development, pointing out that if housing was thoroughly planned and implemented it could reactivate both the individual and national economy.
Directors and senior officials from relevant agencies in the built industry from both federal, states as well as private sectors are participating in the meeting.
VC Commends FG for Road Intervention in University
The Vice Chancellor of Bayero University Kano, Professor Sagir Adamu Abbas has commended the Federal Government for the road intervention projects in tertiary institutions nationwide.
Professor Abbas who led the management team of the University on a visit to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing expressed appreciation for intervention in road projects and street lights in his institution.
He described the intervention in Bayero University as critical to the institution which had provided a conducive atmosphere for learning in the University thereby boosting the morale of the students and staff in the institution.
In his response, the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Babangida Hussaini who received the delegation on behalf of the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, appreciated the team for the accolades showered on the Ministry and noted that the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to providing infrastructure in every sector of the country provided the needed motivation to the Ministry of Works and Housing to discharge its mandate judiciously.
The Permanent Secretary also stated that the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing has a strong passion to ensure the fulfillment of President Muhammadu Buahari’s commitment to providing infrastructure in all sectors across the states of the federation.
It will be recalled that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing had so far completed and delivered 29 out of 47 road projects executed in various tertiary institutions nationwide.
Other members of the delegation from the university are Deputy Vice Chancellor; Professor Mahmoud Umar Sani, Acting Registrar; Jemila Salim, and Director Liaison Office Abuja; Ibrahim Usman Yakasai.
2023 Elections: Fashola Distances Self from The Antics of Unsolicited Support Groups
The Media Office of the Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, has urged well-meaning people to disregard the invitation of some Groups, operating under The Nigeria Project 2023, purportedly to the inauguration of a Support Group for the Minister and the Governor of Borno State over the 2023 elections.
The social media was awash at the weekend with a poster from the Group allegedly presenting the Honorable Minister and the Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum as Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates respectively of an unnamed political party.
Ordinarily, the poster and the various social media reports almost instantly orchestrated on its account would have been ignored as the handwork of mischief makers. However, it became necessary to issue this disclaimer for two key reasons.
The first of such was to answer with a strong negative to the numerous inquiries from right thinking and well-meaning Nigerians on whether the Honorable Minister had been contacted or if the Groups had his consent in issuing the invitation.
Without equivocation, no individual or Group has contacted the Honorable Minister for or on behalf of The Nigeria Project 2023. As Honorable Minister, Mr Fashola is currently focused on leading his dedicated Team in the Ministry of Works and Housing to deliver on the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari for an expanded and upgraded road transport infrastructure; and affordable Housing nationwide in order to achieve economic growth and prosperity for the citizenry.
Secondly, is the fact that entities unknown to a political party cannot present candidates on behalf of such a political party. As a ranking and loyal member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the individual and groups cited as promoters of The Nigeria Project 2023 are unknown to the APC and the Honorable Minister.
Against the backdrop of the foregoing, the Honorable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN urges members of the public to be wary of the antics of unsolicited individuals and Support Groups whose real intentions remain questionable. Every support possible should be given to the efforts of the current administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to deliver a better nation for all.
Road Blockade: FG Appeals to Truck Drivers for Understanding on Bida -Lambata Ongoing Work
The Federal Government has appealed for understanding of truck drivers on the ongoing construction work on Bida-Lambata road, saying that government is committed to deliver a quality work that will stand the test of time for the benefit of the users.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Babangida Hussaini made this appeal over the weekend.
Hussaini was reacting to the blockade of a section of the Bida -Lambata and Suleja - Minna roads by some articulated trucks drivers in Niger State, protesting that government should expedite action to complete the ongoing construction to ease their difficulties in using the roads.
" I am appealing to the truck drivers for understanding of the efforts of the Federal government in fixing this road. This Bida-Lambata road is among the many other ongoing projects across the nation which the government prioritised to deliver," he said.
Hussaini also noted that the rehabilitation work has not reached the sections that collapsed but the Contractor has been directed to do palliative work on all such sections while the contruction progress as scheduled.
He however lamented that the contractor has been denied access to the road due to blockade by the tanker drivers.
The Permanent Secretary stated that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari gives premium to providing road infrastructure across the country as a way of improving the social and economic well-being of the people.
He assured the truck drivers that the Federal Government through the Federal Controller of Works in Niger State is working round the clock with the contractors on site to ensure not only timely completion but to deliver a qualitative road that would stand the test of time.
SPEECH DELIVERED BY ABUBAKAR MALAMI, SAN AT THE COMPLETION AND HANDOVER OF REHABILITATION OF SOKOTO – TAMBUWAL-JEGA-KONTAGORA-MAKERA ROAD, PHASE I & II SOKOTO AND KEBBI STATES, CONTRACT NO. 6161 ON THURSDAY, 25TH NOVEMBER, 2021
On behalf of the Federal Government and President Muhammadu Buhari, I bring best wishes to the Government and people of Sokoto/Kebbi States.
Our commitment to improve road transport infrastructure, our determination to improve the ease of doing business, create jobs and prosperity to lift people out of poverty brings us here today because the results of our investment are manifesting.
I can confidently say that as we enter the final lap of the tenure of the Buhari administration we are also entering a season of completion and delivery of projects.
As you can all see, we are handing over today the 155 Kilometres Road, which is Phases I&II (Sokoto-Tambuwal - Jega) of the Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega-Kontagora – Makera Road.
This road links Sokoto and Kebbi State together, and it is a critical component of our national road network.
This road has been built to the highest quality of design and workmanship and if is well used and not abused, it should last for the designed service life.
Road abuse takes many forms such as overloading of vehicles and trucks which accelerates pavement damage, spilling of petroleum products, which dissolves all the components and allows water to penetrate, and converting the road shoulders to permanent parking places, that brings the onset of road failure from the shoulder.
We must all do our best to avoid these practices, report them when they occur and act in a lawful manner to stop them.
The road is also a story of the capacity of our people. The patriotic Nigerians who were employed directly to build this road, the scores of suppliers employed indirectly who are responsible for providing the machines utilized in the construction.
These are not only nation builders to whom we offer our salutations, they are the heart of the Nigerian economy, the micro, small and medium enterprises that drive our economic growth.
This road is also a statement of economic efficiency and ease of doing business.
This is because the travel time of averagely 4 hours before construction has now reduced to 2 hours since the completion of the road.
Of course, this road is part of our many roads to prosperity because reduced journey times means reduced expense on travel, because time is money.
This road symbolizes change as you will observe in the road furniture, such as the lane markings and Route Assurance signs.
These components had all but disappeared on our highways but our commitment to change has restored them, with the markings helping drivers to achieve better lane management and control of their vehicles; while the Route Assurance signs provide information about how much further or longer, the drivers and commuters have to travel and the distance to the next village, town or state.
Of course, another element of change is the travel experience on a new and well-built road from the old and previously unmotorable road.
Now that we have this new and well-built road, we have duties to ourselves and to other road users.
One of those duties is to ensure that we drive in accordance with the law as stipulated in the Highway Code.
Accordingly, for the avoidance of any doubt, I wish to reiterate that the maximum driving speed on this and other Federal Highways nationwide is 100 (ONE HUNDRED) KM and no more.
On behalf of the Federal Government and President Muhammadu Buhari, I formally declare this Sokoto-Tambuwal - Jega Phases I & II of the Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega-Kontagora – Makera Road completed and open for public use.
For your safety and that of other road users, I implore you not to exceed 100 KM.
We want you alive to witness and be part of the prosperity and promise of Nigeria.
I wish you safe and happy motoring.
Abubakar Malami, SAN
Honourable Minister of Justice and attorney-General of the Federation
THE KEYNOTE SPEECH BY H.E BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA, SAN AT THE EKITI STATE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI ASSOCIATION 2021 GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND CONVENTION LECTURE
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me start my speech by thanking you for inviting me to be your guest speaker at your convention for this year.
I sincerely hope that this year’s convention is not only successful but extremely rewarding of the efforts that have gone into arranging it.
The history of Alumni Associations of universities is quite dated and well reported and you have become part of a global network of similar associations who have contributed to enriching the human civilisation worldwide.
I however have some concerns about the negative presumption in the title you have selected, which is “Tragedy of leadership without legacy; Safeguarding the next generation of Nigerian leaders.”
I prefer to always see my glass and that of Nigeria as half full and not half empty.
In this regard, I look for triumphs and not tragedies.
So, let me share with you a triumph and a legacy.
Up until 21st of March 1982, there was no state university in the old Ondo state and there was no Ekiti state as a legal entity. Indeed, the idea that an Ekiti state would one day own a university was not in contemplation.
But all of these changed on the 22nd of March 1982 by the action of Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin, as the Governor of the then Ondo state, when he created the Ondo State University.
That was an act of leadership, to create an institution of higher learning to prepare the next generation and make them ready to lead.
That action was triumphant and not tragic.
And it would seem that the then Ondo state university was a worthy legacy that any leader in the public or private sector would be proud of.
But the triumphs and legacies did not stop there.
To the credit of the Babangida Administration and in response to the yearnings of the people of Ekiti who were then part of Ondo State, Ekiti state was birthed as a legal entity in 1996.
It is extremely doubtful that if a referendum were held today to return Ekiti to become part of the old Ondo state, that such a referendum will find majority support if it finds any support at all.
The reason why such a referendum will almost certainly fail, if it ever emanates in the first place, is that the people of Ekiti are proud of their state.
That is a legacy, and I dare say, a triumph, not a tragedy of leadership.
Yes, there are those who at the time did not want the military to remain and I am one of them, but we cannot dismiss something as worthy as Ekiti state, because we dislike those who produced it or the system by which they did it.
It might interest you to find out how the law that finally abolished slavery in America was passed and the efforts of Abraham Lincoln to get parliamentary support for it.
The process by which the support of the law makers was obtained for the Abolition Law are not necessarily worthy of badges of honour, but the abolition of slavery, the freedoms they delivered for the human mind and dignity remain enduring and triumphant legacies of leadership.
Some of you may be aware of the Battle of Normandy. This was the last push of a global coalition in 1944 to stop a German advance on Europe and by extension the whole world.
Recent declassification of military records now reveals that it was not just bravery alone that won the contest.
But the legacies of freedom that the triumph of the coalition forces delivered is with us today.
The aftermath of that effort led to the birth of the United Nations and the prescription of a new global legal order that has regulated the conduct of human affairs till today.
Away from history and back to Ekiti, the triumphs do not end, and the legacies continue.
One of them is the Alumni Association whose guest I am today. Without Ekiti State, and without Ekiti State University, from where would an alumni association of an Ekiti State University sprung forth?
So, to you my dear brothers and sisters, do away with negativity, look for possibilities, acknowledge little and modest successes, and let us work together to build for a better tomorrow.
Those who propel us to think negatively are not only thinking positively and acting positively, they are benefiting from our negativities. Therefore, I urge you to seek to do good things for a good reason not because we want to correct a bad thing.
For too long, our developmental aspirations have been anchored on “correcting what was wrong” when it can be anchored on an aspiration for self-improvement.
As someone once put it, we should not delegitimize in order to legitimize.
So for example, a Government in office, should build a waterworks for the people not because it has never been built before or because the previous government failed to build it, but because water is life, water is good for sanitation and for health care and water promotes wellness.
Therefore, at a recent event where I was invited to speak about the role of private sector in funding infrastructure gap and housing deficit, I modified the subject by removing “gap” and “deficit” from the topic.
I did so for a couple of reasons not least of which is the negativity that I perceived about those words and my subject.
I did so in part because I am aware that every part of the world is committing to building more infrastructure and housing because it helps the economy, and it creates jobs and not because they want to fill the “gap” or bridge a “deficit.”
I did so also because I know that President Buhari’s investment in infrastructure and housing is not meant to fill a gap or bridge a deficit; but to grow the Nigerian economy to global competitiveness and to invest in the Nigerian people.
Therefore, we must not only acknowledge what has been done by those before us, we as the leaders of today must embrace our responsibility to safeguard the next generation of Nigerian leaders.
We must then ask ourselves what we can do, to improve on the triumph of the legacy of Chief Michael Ajasin, in order to prepare the future for our children and our children’s children.
In this regard, we must be aspirational, forward-looking and ready to take responsibility for what happens in one generation.
If we keep looking backwards, we will be looking for who to blame. The energy spent in looking for “scapegoats” and there are none, can be spent visioning and planning for tomorrow.
So let us look at today and what we have, in order to possibly project what we will need and prepare how to do them.
In this regard I can only offer suggestions as I do not profess to have all the ideas or answers.
But a good starting point is to accept that our world is changing and will continue to change. Therefore, we must prepare to adapt in order to safeguard the next generation.
At the onset of the industrial revolution, the subsequent discovery of crude oil and its amenability to being refined was the Holy Grail of that period.
It birthed a new economy of high-powered petrol and diesel driven machines that created global prosperity.
That is going away now as the world commits to a Net Zero carbon world from around 2050 and beyond. That is one generation away and we must prepare.
We must prepare by getting ready to acquire skills that will be useful to thrive in a Net Zero carbon environment and build our prosperity away from the carbon environment.
Another area is financial services. When last did you write a cheque? That was the ultimate symbol of financial inclusion or the ownership of a passbook, for those with savings accounts.
All of that is gone, many jobs have been lost with the disappearance of cheque books and replaced, but we still undertake financial transactions using different skills.
Bitcoins, cryptocurrency and of course our E-Naira are the new faces of financial transactions. To quote a popular saying in an adapted form - What will we think of next and how ready are we?
Of course, I cannot but discuss my personal passion which is Sports.
In about two generations, a pastime has become a profession that supports lives and livelihoods across the world among young people in the main, who are now professional sports men and woman.
A massive economy has been built around it including innovation, research and development for equipment, medicine, nutrition and officiating.
The sports that our parents told us was for “never do wells” is not only a major income earner globally, it is a source of projecting global sovereign strength.
Our plan for the next generation must include preparing our children to proudly deploy their skills in a professional way in the sporting arena.
While sports has struggled, the other sides of the talent based vocation such as music, dance, theatre and arts are prospering in varying degrees.
We must prepare the next generation to multiply the gains and consolidate on the success of today.
There are many things that we need to do and this occasion and the time permitted, do not lend themselves to an exhaustive consideration of those things.
But one thing that this occasion lends itself to, and which time permits us to do, is that this convention can (and I recommend that it must) be used to liberate our minds.
We must at this convention resolve to unshackle our minds from negativity, and embrace positive and aspirational thoughts.
After all, we can only do things that we can think of.
Therefore, the greatest bequest we can give the next generation is a gift of a belief in possibilities. If we do not believe how can we pass it on?
I do, I believe in the endless possibilities of Nigeria. What about you?
I acknowledge the triumphs and legacies of many who came before me, and even if I criticize some of their choices, I do not disown the foundations they contributed to where I stand today.
I am resolved to improve on what I inherited and pass it on to those who will come after me. This in part explains why the Federal Government through the Ministry of Works and Housing is undertaking repairs and reconstruction of internal Roads in 44 Tertiary institutions and the list of beneficiaries is growing.
What about you? What are you prepared to do to improve on what you inherited?
Thank you once again for inviting me. Thank you for listening.
Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Honourable Minister of Works and Housing
WHAT CAN THE PRESIDENT DO FOR ME? BEING THE TEXT OF A KEYNOTE DELIVERED BY H.E BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA, SAN AT THE YORUBA TENNIS CLUB ANNUAL LECTURE
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:
At the onset of the protest against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) when five demands were made in respect of the police and SARS, President Muhammadu Buhari weighed in on the side of the protesters when he said:
“On Monday 12th October, I acknowledged the genuine concerns and agitations of members of the public regarding the excessive use of force by some members of SARS…As a democratic government, we listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, we immediately scrapped SARS, and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.”
To some of the protesters this was not enough action. In my interaction with some of them, young and not so young they wanted the President to sack some policemen, in some cases even the Inspector General of Police.
During this interaction I referred them to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended, that I pointed out to them that:
* The President of Nigeria cannot sack a policeman because a policeman is not the employee of the President but rather the employee of the Police Service Commission;
* The President can only sack Ministers, and other appointees that he personally appoints to assist him and not any civil servant deployed to work for him such as a cook, driver, or administrative staff who are ordinary employees of the Civil Service Commission.
Not a few persons were surprised to hear this.
Indeed, I have discovered that a sizeable number of our people express surprise when I explain the structure of Government to them.
For example, when I explain to people that as Governor or Minister I do not sign cheques, vouchers or documents that directly involve the transfer of money.
On the contrary, at certain levels of payment under the financial regulation, my powers as Governor or Minister are limited to approving recommendations for payment made to me through the Permanent Secretary; after he and I have satisfied ourselves that the Government has received value for the payment or will do so.
Although the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has several directorates such as Construction and Rehabilitation, Planning and Development, Bridges and Design, Materials Geotechnics and Quality Control, Finance and Accounts, Legal and Procurement, many openly express surprise when I tell them that only Engineers, Architects, Valuers, Builders, Town Planners and those involved in the built industry are staff of the Ministry of Works and Housing.
Those in Legal Department are lawyers seconded from the Ministry of Justice to whom they report, Finance and Accounts are staff of the Accountant General/Ministry of Finance, to whom they report, and procurement personnel are staff of the Bureau of Public Procurement to whom they report; while those in administration are staff of the Head of Service/Public Service Office to whom they report.
And this is true of all ministries, in a system of checks and balances.
Similarly of course, in the engineering sections of other ministries, the Ministry of Works also seconds engineers to support those ministries and they report to their parent ministry.
What is true of the Federal civil service system in this regard is largely true of the state civil service systems.
This in part is why the public service is a bureaucracy, which has been defined as:
“…a complex organization that has multi-layered systems and processes.” (Source - Investopedia)
I am surprised that this surprises people and this is a part of the reason for choosing to discuss it at this public forum.
So very often, I hear general statements that the President of Nigeria is very powerful, sometimes they say the office is too powerful in some cases they even ascribe more powers to him than the United States President.
Therefore I have decided, in responding to the invitation of Chief Babajide Damazio, the Chairman of the Yoruba Tennis Club, to interrogate the matter publicly by titling my speech “What can the President do for me?”
The flip side is also that some of our public discourse is coloured with general statements that are not factual such as some statements to the effect that the Vice President is in their words “just a spare tyre” suggesting that he has no powers or functions except those assigned to him by the President.
These statements betray a lack of knowledge about the Constitution and I intend to discuss them here within the reasonable limits of time.
If one looks through the length and breadth of the constitution as I have, you will find that the office of the President is referred to 48 (FORTY-EIGHT) times.
A closer look at the details for those who have read the constitution, will suggest possibly an error in mixing up or conflating “powers” with “function” and the difference is significant.
“Whereas ‘power’ is the legal right or authorisation to act or not to act, it is the ability conferred on a person by law to alter, by an act of will, the rights, duties liabilities and other relations, either of that person or another. On the other hand, the term “function” is the duty of the office.
In the 48 mentions of the Office of the President in the Constitution:
* 23 instances refer to powers exercisable by the President;
* 9 instances refer to powers exercisable by the President subject to the National Assembly;
* 4 instances refer to powers exercisable by the President subject to other institutions;
* 9 instances refer to the President’s functions and duties; and
* 3 instances refer to restrictions on the powers of the President.
Yes, the “all powerful,” “too powerful” President that we generalise about his powers, has restrictions on his powers.
I have provided a table of all the references in the Constitution below:
Part A: Powers exercisable by the President
|1||The executive powers of the Federation is vested in the President||Section 5(1)(a)|
|2||The executive powers include the power to execute and maintain the Constitution||Section 5(1)(b)|
|3||Power to execute and maintain all laws made by the National Assembly||Section 5(1)(b)|
|4||Power to make treaties [Power conferred on the Federation]||Section 12|
|5||Power to deprive registered or naturalized citizens of their citizenship||Section 30|
|6||Authorization of qualified private persons to establish a television or wireless broadcast station||Section 39|
|7||Power to assent (or withhold assent) to bills passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives||Section 58|
|8||Power to decide whether or not it is practicable to hold elections||Section 64|
|9||Power to issue proclamation for the holding of the first session of the National Assembly||Section 64|
|10||Right to attend joint meetings of the National Assembly or of either the Senate or the House of Representatives to deliver an address on national affairs or to make statement on government policies||Section 67|
|11||Power to order withdrawal of moneys from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the services of the Government||Section 82|
|12||Establishment of offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation||Section 147|
|13||Assignment of responsibilities to the Vice President and Ministers||Section 148(1)|
|14||Power to appoint or remove Chairman and members of Federal Executive Bodies established by section 153 of the Constitution||Section 154|
|15||Approval of rules of procedure made by the Federal Executive Bodies established by section 153 of the Constitution||Section 160|
|16||Power to approve delegation by the Federal Civil Service Commission of its power to any of its members or to any officer in the civil service of the Federation||Section 170|
|17||Power to appoint and remove the following officers: Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Head of Service, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Permanent Secretary, etc||Section 171|
|18||Power to give approval to a State body where it is intended by the body to confer power or impose duties to any officer or authority of the Federation||Section 204|
|19||Power to give lawful directions to the Inspector General of Police with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order||Section 215(3)|
|20||Power to direct the armed forces to suppress insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order||Section 217(2)(c)|
|21||The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Federation and as such is empowered to:
* determine the operational use of the armed forces of the Federation;
* appoint the Chiefs of Staff of Defence, Army, Navy, and Air Force; and
* appoint heads of any other branches of the armed forces of the Federation.
|22||The Constitution vests the Executive power for the administration of the Federal Capital Territory in the President||Section 299|
|23||Power to appoint a Minister for the Federal Capital Territory||Section 302|
|24||As the Appropriate Authority, the President is authorized to make modifications in the text of any existing law as he considers necessary to bring the law into conformity with the provisions of the Constitution||Section 315(2)|
Part B: Power subject to the National Assembly
|1||Power to declare a state of war between the Federation and another country [subject to the sanction of the National Assembly]||Section 5(4)|
|2||Deployment of members of the armed forces of the Federation on combat duty outside Nigeria. [subject to approval of the Senate]||Section 5(5)|
|3||Making regulations to prescribe matters which are required to give effect to constitutional provisions on citizenship [subject to laying before the National Assembly]||Section 32|
|4||Appointment and removal of the Auditor-General for the Federation||Section 86|
|5||Appointment of Ministers||Section 147|
|6||Power to appoint Special Advisers to assist the President in the performance of his functions. [Their number is to be determined by the National Assembly]||Section 151|
|7||Power to appoint the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, President of the Court of Appeal, Justices of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge and Justices of the Federal High Court and Justices of other Federal Courts. [Subject to confirmation by the Senate]||Sections 231, 238, 250, 254B, etc|
|8||Power to remove the Justices and Judges appointed by him [Acting on address supported by 2/3 majority of the Senate or NJC]||Section 292|
|9||Power to issue a proclamation of a state of emergency in the Federation or any part thereof in the circumstances listed in section 305(3) and (4) of the Constitution||Section 305(1)|
Part C: Power subject to other institution
|1||Deployment of members of the armed forces of the Federation on a limited combat duty outside Nigeria. [in consultation with the National Defence Council]||Section 5(5)|
|2||Power to grant a pardon to any person convicted of any offence created by an Act of National Assembly (Prerogative of mercy)
[This power is to be exercised by the President after consultation with the Council of State]
|3||Power to accept or reject report of population census conducted by the National Population Commission.
[This power is subject to the advice of the Council of State]
|4||Appointment of the Inspector General of Police
[This power is to be exercised on the advice of Nigeria Police Council]
Part D: Functions and Duties
|1||Considering recommendations from a body set up to review ownership and control of business enterprises operating in Nigeria||Section 16(3)|
|2||Approving the registration of persons who apply to be registered as citizens of Nigeria||Section 26|
|3||Granting of certificate of naturalization to persons who are qualified||Section 27|
|4||The President has the responsibility to cause budget to be prepared and laid before the National Assembly||Section 81|
|5||Duty to hold regular meetings with the Vice President and the Ministers of the Government of the Federation||Section 148(2)|
|6||Tabling of proposals for revenue allocation from the Federation Account to the National Assembly||Section 162(2)|
|7||Duty to transmit copies of official gazette containing emergency proclamation to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives||Section 305(2)|
|8||The President is the chairman of the following constitutional bodies:
The Council of State
* National Defence Council
* National Security Council
* Nigeria Police Council
|9||Duty to lay accepted report of population census conducted by the National Population Commission before the National Assembly.
[This power is subject to the advice of the Council of State]
Part E: Restriction
|1||Prohibition from holding any other executive office or paid employment||Section 138|
|2||Prohibition from maintaining or operating a bank account in a country outside Nigeria||Fifth Schedule to the Constitution|
|3||Prohibition from being employed by foreign company or foreign enterprises after leaving office||Fifth Schedule to the Constitution|
Is the Vice President really without responsibilities, duties and functions unless the President assigns them to him?
Certainly not. Those who assert that position tell a big lie. A lie born either out of ignorance at the best or mischief at the worst.
The framers of the Nigerian Constitution and our legislators seem to have deliberately attempted to entrust matters relating to its security with the President by making him chairman of the National Councils such as the Security Council, Defence Council and the Police Council, while entrusting the Vice President with matters relating to the economy by making him the Chairman of the National Council on Privatization and the National Economic Council.
Although they did not say the President cannot deal with economic matters, it is my view that he cannot chair the Economic Council or National council on privatization without violating/breaching the constitution with its attendant constitutional risks and consequences.
So much for the “all-powerful” President.
As for the Vice President, his other constitutional functions include:
Constitutional Function and Duty of the Vice President
|1||Exercise of Executive Powers of the Federation as delegated by the President||Section 5(1)(a)|
|2||Power to perform the functions of the President as Acting President during temporary absence of the President||Section 145(1)|
|3||Power to hold the office of the President if the office of the President becomes vacant by Section 146||Section 146(1)|
|4||Performance of ‘responsibility for any business of the Government of the Federation’ as may be assigned by the President||Section 148(1)|
|1||Deputy Chairman of the Council of State||Third Schedule, Part I, Paragraph B (5)|
|2||Chairman of the National Economic Council||Third Schedule, Part I, Paragraph H (18)|
|3||Deputy Chairman of the National Defence Council||Third Schedule, Part I, Paragraph G (16)|
|4||Deputy Chairman of the National Security Council||Third Schedule, Part I, Paragraph K (25)|
|1||Chairman of the Governing Council of the National Emergency Management Agency||Section of National Emergency Management Agency Act|
|2||Chairman of the Governing Board of the Border Communities Development Agency||Section 2 Border Communities Development Agency (Establishment, etc.) Act|
|3||Chairman of the National Boundary Commission||Section 4 National Boundary Commission (Establishment) Act|
|4||The Vice President may represent the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the Chairman of the Governing Council)||Section 8 Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (Establishment etc.) Act 2011|
|5||Chairman of the National Planning Commission||Section 3 National Planning Commission Act|
|6||Vice Chairman of the Council of the National Space Research Development Agency||Section 2 National Space Research and Development Agency Act|
|7||Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Debt Management Bureau||Section 2 Debt Management Bureau (Establishment) Act|
|8||Chairman of the National Council on Privatisation||Section 9(2) Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act|
Which brings me to the heart of the matter, as to why a significant number of Nigerians place their hopes and expectation for a better life on their President rather than their Governors and Local Government Chairmen.
Or put differently, why do we seem to only like our Presidents after they have left office and not while in office or after they have died, like “the best President we never had.”
Again, after a very deep interrogation, my answer to this question is traceable to the constitution. And this is not a concession to the advocates of restructuring, but rather a clear lack of relationship by many of us with the constitution.
In other words, we are not fully or sufficiently familiar with our constitution and the roles it ascribes to the different levels of government, at local, state and federal, and the officers attaching to them such as Local Government Chairman, State Governor and the President.
And the related question, to the question what can the president do for me, is to ask ourselves: how the office of the President make my life better?
Before I offer an answer, let me share with you the feedback of a survey that I commissioned to gauge the sense of what the Nigerians who were polled desired most.
The common thread in the responses were: security, education, healthcare, transportation, water supply, employment, housing and electricity. Of course, there are others, which time and space will not permit me to interrogate.
In understanding what the President can do, we must bear in mind the nature of our political arrangement where the President as head of the country, also leads the executive arm of the Federal Government and projects our sovereign status, but shares power and responsibility with 36 states headed by Governors, and 774 Local Government headed by Local Government chairmen.
If we go through our constitution, (and I urge everybody to get a copy and read it if only casually) we will find two (2) lists of responsibilities in the schedule to the constitution.
* The Exclusive list
* The Concurrent list
The first list contains matters over which only the National Assembly, as the custodian of legislative power of the Federal Government can make laws and over which the President as the head of the executive arm can take action. This list contains 68 (SIXTY-EIGHT) items and includes matters like the banking, currency, police, the military, customs, immigration, citizenship etc.
The second list, which is called the concurrent list, means exactly what it says. A concurrence of authority where the Federal and State governments share power and therefore the state houses of assembly as well as the National Assembly can make laws over these matters; while the Governors, as well as the President, can act in these areas.
This list contains 12 (TWELVE) items and includes matters like Education (secondary and university including polytechnics) Health (secondary and tertiary), Electricity (generation, transmission and distribution).
This list does not include primary education or primary health or sanitation or markets which are expressly left for the Local Governments in the 4th schedule of the constitution.
All matters not listed in these two lists or in the fourth schedule to the constitution such as magistrate courts, consumption tax, rent control, local levies and non-specified taxes, are regarded as RESIDUAL, and the sole preserve of the state governments.
Manifestly and contrary to the view that everything revolves around the President or the Federal Government, what is obvious from the Nigerian constitution and political arrangement, what we really have is an arrangement of shared powers, and I might add, shared responsibility. The question then must be, whether all those who bear responsibility actually discharge them; and I will come back to this in some comparative examination of some of the problems identified earlier that people seek government action for.
But before I do so, I need to quickly shed light on even the nature of the Federal Government.
The Executive arm, such as the Federal Executive Council, has the President and Vice-President elected by the people of Nigeria, and at least 36 ministers appointed from each state as prescribed by the constitution that every state must have a Minister. It also then prescribes that the ministerial nominee must be cleared and approved by the Senate.
And who is the Senate? 109 people, elected by you and I, whether you voted or not, 3 from each state to represent us in the Federal Government because there is no building big enough to accommodate us so we send representatives.
The FCT also has one Senator. The House of Representatives, the other arm of the National Assembly has 360 members from all the 36 states who act to exercise legislative powers over the exclusive list, to determine what the Federal Executive can act upon.
When you see how the structure is laid out, what is obvious to me and hopefully to you, is that it is the people of Nigeria, rather than one man, (the President), who truly have powers and responsibility over our affairs.
Let us now then look at a few examples, because there are many, to examine how these powers have been exercised.
Let me start with electricity. As I said it is a concurrent power by the federal and state. The Federal Government since 2013 has chosen to privatize its own responsibility by selling the generating and distribution assets, while managing the transmission side with varying degrees of success.
The question to ask is what is happening at state level across Nigeria with electricity generation, transmission and distribution.
This question cannot be posed to the President. He is not in charge of any state. He did not elect or appoint a Governor. You and I did.
So I am not suggesting that all electricity problems are the responsibility of the state Governors, but if you have an electricity problem in your states please ask your Governor what he plans to do about it, and your House of Assembly lawmaker which law he will support if you vote for him to give you electricity.
The same applies to primary education and primary health. The Federal Government does not and should not own a primary school or primary healthcare centre. But these are the most defining centres for quality education and preventive health. The foundations of young life are defined here. Basic literacy and numeracy, ante-natal care and life protecting immunization are delivered here.
Please ask your Local Government chairman not the Governor or the President.
Sanitation, characterized by water supply and proper refuse management and civic education are not the constitutional responsibility of the Federal Government, your Senator, house of representative member or the President.
It is our state representatives who have constitutional mandate to deliver water to our homes, move our refuse and make sure our surroundings are clean and we do not suffer from disease and epidemics.
Because I expect that there will be responses, whether informed or uninformed to what I already said and will say, let me be clear that I have not come to absolve the Ministers, the Senators, House of Rep, Federal Civil servants and the President of responsibility.
We have our responsibilities and can do a lot more, but I first sought to clear the air and state the facts for those right thinking and indeed well-meaning Nigerians who honestly want a better life and do not know who is responsible for the problems they face.
So, let me go to a contentious area, like Security.
Section 14.2 (b) of the Constitution provides that:
“the security and the welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government…”
Interestingly, it does not say which government. My view is that security is an all government responsibility not a Federal Government responsibility alone.
Yes, the Federal Government controls the apparatus of coercive law-enforcement prescribed in the constitution like the military and police, but it has not precluded states from setting up certain types of law enforcement for traffic, sanitation etc.
I am also a public advocate for states to control their own law enforcement apparatus in other extensive areas where they have powers to make laws.
However, I hold the view that security, which is a concern of some of the people, is not guaranteed by having a state law enforcement apparatus.
Indeed, it is more than a government affair.
In my view, it is an all nation affair as contemplated in section 24(e) which provides that:
“It shall be the duty of every citizen to…render assistance to appropriate and lawful agencies in the maintenance of law and order…”
It seems to me that the road to resolving our security problems, starts with a resolution to prevent or resolve the existence of conflict, eliminate the opportunities for crime to happen, and this requires effort from the family unit to the schools, religious institutions, to all levels of government.
It requires a reset of our values for hard work, a love for one another as a keeper of each other, brothers and sisters, a commitment to peaceful cohabitation and the mustering of the capacity to ensure that no conflict lasts to the next day, whenever any occurs.
This will reduce the need for law-enforcement and put less pressure on them.
It is more than a job for a President, Governor, Local Government chairman, or legislator at any level. It is a job that requires parents at home, teachers in schools, religious leaders in places of worship, title holders like Obas, Emirs, Chiefs like Obis, Baloguns, Turakis, Asiwajus, Bashoruns, Galadimas, Ezes and many more.
This again does not absolve the need for well-equipped law enforcement or excuse those responsible, as it does not absolve the need to stem and stop drug abuse in our society, and the need to reduce or eliminate abandoned buildings where suspicious people thrive in our society and need for street lighting at night to deter criminal atrocity.
I cannot conclude this intervention without mentioning road infrastructure.
Nigeria as a country has 200,000 plus kilometres of roads. But they belong to different levels of government.
Federal trunk roads, mentioned in item 11 of the executive legislative list is the one the Federal Government is responsible for
These are the roads that connect one state to the other, interstate roads. These account for 35,000km out of the 200,000km representing 17.5 %.
The state government roads are 17.5% of the 200,000 km and these are the roads that connect one Local Government to another; while the Local Governments have responsibility for the balance, representing 65% of roads that connect one ward to another.
I cannot of course ignore the fact that the Federal Government has a big and important role to play in respect of fiscal and monetary policy that impacts exchange rate, interest rate and inflation.
But there are legitimate questions to ask about how many local businesses need foreign exchange to operate as much as they need water, electricity and skilled personnel and lower levies and non-state actors from extorting them.
There is a legitimate question to ask about whether those of us who keep bank accounts are ready to accept lower deposit rates as a measure to induce lower lending rates, because high interest rates affect our people.
And of course, with housing on the rental side, how many of us who own houses are ready to accept monthly payments as rent paid in arrears as against two (2) years rent paid in advance, which is a point of pain and stress for many people.
While the properties for which these rents are charged largely belong to individuals and companies, not to government, there is also the question to ask whether or not our legislators at state levels can make laws to control rent. This is not a matter for the president because the federal legislator has no powers over rent.
On the construction side of housing, we must remember that it is the state Governors who control land, not the Federal Government. While the Federal Government is currently constructing houses in 34 states, and developing site and service schemes on land provided by state governments and using employee’s contribution to fund mortgages to help some people buy houses, there is a legitimate question to ask whether your state government is building houses and ready to create a mortgage funding institution.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is a lot to expect of a President, there is perhaps much more to ask of State and Local Government actors.
After all, the projection of national might and success on the international stage by heads of Governments such as Presidents, whether in terms of cuisine, technology, sports or the economy, is the projection of the aggregate of what happens at their sub-national entities.
Now that you know who to ask about primary education, primary health, water supply, refuse management, electricity, security, interest rate, roads and a lot more, please know that candidates will soon begin to emerge as 2023 beckons. Do not keep quiet.
Ask them what they will do to make your life better.
Thank you for listening.
Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Honourable Minister of Works and Housing
Friday 5th November 2021
ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF WORKS AND HOUSING, BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA SAN AT THE 27TH MEETING OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON WOKS
It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the fourth day of this memorable event of the 27th meeting of the National Council on Works (NCW) being held in Bauchi State.
2. Let me first express my profound gratitude to His Excellency, Senator Bala A. Muhammed CON, the Executive Governor and the entire people of Bauchi State for accepting to host the 27th meeting of the National Council on Works (NCW). This has demonstrated the mutual relationship and peaceful coexistence between the Federal and Bauchi State Government. The Bauchi State, "the Pearl of Tourism" is no doubt the treasure of the Nation considering its many beautiful tourist attraction canters across the State.
3. The theme of this year's Council meeting "Infrastructure Delivery, Maintenance Economy and National Prosperity" was carefully selected to alleviate the problems associated with lack of maintenance of infrastructure being provided by the Federal, State and Local Governments which results to huge money and retard the economy growth.
4. Nigeria like other developing Countries is seriously confronted with inadequate resources for establishment of infrastructure which are essential for National Economic Development. Since the Independence, a large chunk of the country's resources has been channelled to infrastructure constructions including roads infrastructure. However, maintenance culture which encompasses provision for adequate care of hard-earned infrastructure is needed to ensure sustainability of these roads’ infrastructure for national prosperity. Experts have posited that if any nation can imbibe the maintenance culture in every sector of the economy, it will reduce cost and ensure national economic growth. Therefore, provision of adequate road infrastructure with a maintenance backup will no doubt help the government in saving more money to achieve National Economic Prosperity.
5. The highly acquired capital infrastructure is not given adequate maintenance to enable it have a longer lifespan needed to support development efforts and thereby deteriorate to the point of starting afresh. Therefore, acquired infrastructure such as constructed road network, bridges, road signage should be properly managed and adequately maintained to ensure durability and enable them live up to their life span of 20 years of road construction.
6. In prioritizing Maintenance culture in the road network with the goal of improving its 195,500 km road network of which about 60,000 km are paved while 135,000 road networks are un-tarred, the Federal Government and the States need to collaborate together along with investments from International
Finance Institutions and Public Private Partnership intervention in order to achieve the desired goal in Infrastructure Delivery, Maintenance Economy and National Prosperity.
7. Therefore, the 27th Council is expected to provide policy frame work that will sustain concerted and consistent culture of maintenance on the infrastructure on ground and also build in maintenance policy in the future road projects to move the country to the next level.
8. Kindly bear in mind that your recommendations will bear far reaching importance in Nation building and it is my prayer that our Highways will become safer and more comfortable for all and the nation's economy will be revamped and sustained.
9. I urge you to contribute meaningfully to the deliberations here today which will not only enhance improvement in the road infrastructure but will also stimulate world standard maintenance culture in the Nigerian road system.
10. Once again, I wish to express my profound gratitude to the Executive Governor and the entire people of Bauchi State for providing necessary provisions to ensure the hitch free of this year's Council meeting.
11. Thank you all and God bless
SPEECH DELIVERED BY H.E BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA, SAN AT THE 10TH MEETING OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF LANDS, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT AT THE MARRIOTT HOTEL IKEJA LAGOS ON 21ST OCTOBER 2021
Ladies and gentlemen, let me start by thanking the Government, the Governor and people of Lagos, my home state, for accepting to host this 10th meeting of our National Council and for the top-class facilities they have placed at the disposal of the Council for this purpose.
My appreciation also goes to all the technical staff and resource persons who have worked since Monday the 18th to bring us to this climactic last day.
The unsung and unseen contributors who have worked behind the scenes, whose work is visible but whose faces are rarely seen I thank you for lending your hands to nation building.
To the Government and people of Lagos, I bring the goodwill and best wishes of the Federal Government and President Muhammadu Buhari for outstanding progress and success in your developmental goals and objectives and assure you of the Federal Government’s support.
At this year’s meeting we have decided to focus on how to create more jobs, foster social inclusion and accelerate economic development and this much is obvious in the theme of this meeting which is “Housing development as a catalyst for job creation, social inclusion and economic development.”
This decision is informed by many reasons including the unquestionable need to expand opportunities for Nigerian citizens by collective action of Government and private sector actions.
The decision is also informed by the commitment made by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 12, 2019 on behalf of Nigeria, to attempt to lift 100 million people out of poverty in a decade.
The decision is further informed by the reality that this commitment is a national and not a Federal Government commitment, because the Federal Government alone cannot achieve this objective without the state and local governments.
ALL OF GOVERNMENT ACTION
One reason why this will require an All of Government Action is the fact that land is a critical component of capital formation and it is controlled by the states (not the Federal Government) and I am persuaded that appropriate, targeted and purposeful use of land, such as for the development of housing by the states and private sector, will unleash prosperity in all states that aggregates to national prosperity.
As you know, the Federal Government is undertaking a National Housing Program in all states (except Lagos and Rivers which has not started) aggregating to about 5,000 housing units, and trying to complete an inherited ministerial pilot housing scheme across the states which has a little over 6,000 units.
The Federal Housing Authority and Federal Mortgage Bank are also intervening as federal agencies in respective housing development directly, through cooperative societies and the provision of development loans and mortgage loans.
But all these account for only a small amount of the need across the nation for many reasons not excluding the limited amount of land available to these federal agencies.
These are some of the reasons why I seek to persuade all of you to go back to your states to persuade your Governors to re-commit to housing development.
I said recommit, because I am aware that many states are doing something, but you will agree that there is a scope to improve and scale up.
Lagos, since the days of the LEDB, LSDPC, Lateef Jakande has been and today in the time of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, remains an example of what state governments can do to deepen housing supply and reap the benefits that come with it.
Permit me to reflect on the benefits of some of them.
HOUSING, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS AND JOBS
The first is that most of the land held by the states that is not developed either for farming, manufacturing housing or other use, is idle, less valuable, and therefore dead capital that earns little if any income and generates little if any economic activity.
But from the day a decision is made to build, activity is created, people are galvanized, manpower is required, jobs are created and an economic exchange that leads to productivity starts.
Bulldozers employed in clearing are hitherto idle plant and equipment that get put to use, they require diesel to operate, which has to be bought and supplied, transporters are involved to deliver them just as operators are employed to operate the bulldozers.
But before all this happens, some people have been employed in design, layout planning, soil test and other pre-construction activities.
When construction actively starts, the economic explosion happens, supplies of sand, cement, reinforcements, roofing, plumbing, painting, and other components get to work.
This drives a critical business in all our states, the micro small and medium enterprises who make or supply these building components.
The delivery of building materials engages transporters, drivers and lubricant suppliers, but this is only part of the story.
The final leg is the inclusion of the urban poor, the people who depend on daily or weekly wages, the skilled and unskilled workers, bricklayers, carpenters, welders, painters, plumbers, electricians and others who work the materials into the construction of a house.
Of course, there is indirect employment in vendors who supply food, water and sustenance to the workers daily for months.
This is personal income, that is taxable by the states and Lagos State has shown the example of what is possible not only with personal income tax as a source of prolific internally generated revenue, but also the impact of property tax with the Lagos land-use charge as an example.
If we can imagine the picture I am painting we can only see a picture of gainful employment, inclusiveness and income that heralds prosperity as the opposite of poverty.
But the story is not finished. It also leads to furnishing; carpets, beds mattresses, curtains, and other household equipment usually purchased when people move to new homes.
However, let me be clear, not every government can afford to build houses on scale and not all residents want government built homes. So some of the things that the government can also do is to provide infrastructure, roads, connection to electricity and water in site and service schemes, allocated to citizens to build according to their budget but in conformity with the planning order.
CAPITAL APPRECIATION AND PROPERTY TAXES
Apart from some of the benefits that come with building which I have highlighted above, the investment in infrastructure alone adds 30 to 40% to the value of the land which was hitherto of little or no value. Estate surveyors will confirm this to you.
Land that appreciates in value, yields more revenue when property taxes are computed without necessarily raising the rate of taxation.
Every time I visit a housing site that is under construction, I pay particular attention to the people working on site.
They are often happy; they have dignity; they are proud to work instead of beg.
They can go home to their families and put food on the table for their children.
More importantly, they feel included.
But the matter does not end there.
PLANNING/CONSTRUCTION PERMITS AND URBAN PLANNING
I have had the privilege of sitting as a member of the committee set up by President Buhari to facilitate the ease of doing business across Nigeria; a national rather than a federal government business.
One of the parameters where we need to improve upon, and which has hampered our rating as a country, is the number of days and the length of time it takes to get a construction permit or planning approval; and the cost of it.
We in government must consciously improve on the bureaucracy around granting of construction permits or planning approval by taking steps to reduce the number of people involved, introducing some level of automation, such as online submission of applications and reducing the cost of approval.
We must see revenue in a more broader sense, such as reduced income for planning approval, and increased income from consequential construction like income tax of employees on site, and a broader land use charge from more houses built.
Please permit me to make one final point about planning before I leave it.
All over the developed world it is easy to observe sports and tourist facilities connected by interstate highways and interstate rail.
It is not accidental that thousands of people go by train or buses to a sports or entertainment event and return by it. It is the result of planning.
I urge you to take the opportunity as the Federal Government continues to connect the interstate roads and build the national rail network to challenge your land managers and Town Planners to take large tracts of land, plan them for residential and business purposes and set aside land for sports, recreation and entertainment.
You will be investing in the future of prosperity of your states and your indigenes if you do so now.
LAND TITLE AND DOCUMENTATION
It is impossible to address such a gathering of policymakers without touching on title documentations of land.
An untitled land, in the words of Hernando De Soto is “dead capital.”
It is a cause of exclusion, because the land is not formatted into a recognizable way that enables a financial institution identify the owner.
Therefore, untitled land cannot attract credit like a mortgage or development finance because it is not in transferable form to constitute security or collateral.
All states who seek prosperity and inclusion for the people must commit to expeditious processing, GIS mapping and titling of their land.
Lagos state will tell you how much IGR comes from land transactions, but you must find out how much has been invested in GIS mapping, scanning of millions of pages of Land title documents and automation of the issuance of certificates of occupancy.
My dear colleagues, there is no debate that the world is a place of inequality; among nations and amongst people.
While we cannot make the world equal, we can commit to reducing inequality.
We may not be able to make all people homeowners, but we can reduce the number of those who lack shelter or live on the edge every so often when rent is falling due.
I am sure that our country will be a much better place when three years rent in advance, two years rent in advance or one year rent in advance for middle class and working family residential homes becomes monthly rent, payable at the end of the month.
Why we may not get there immediately, this is an area of immense exclusion that we can remedy by legislative action at state level.
This is a matter in which the Federal Government has no legislative competence. It is a matter for the states, and I urge you not to turn your backs.
Three years rent in advance of monthly salary paid in arrears lies at the heart of affordability of access to shelter.
All state legislators must see this as an important area of representation of their people to make life easier.
So must Governors and Commissioners through Executive bills.
I will close by asking these questions.
If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?
Thank you for listening.
Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Honourable Minister of Works and Housing
Thursday 21st October 2021
FASHOLA, MALAMI, ALIERO, GOVERNOR BAGUDU AND OTHERS AT THE COMMISSIONING AND HANDOVER OF SOKOTO - TAMBUWAL - JEGA - KONTAGORA - MAKERA ROAD PHASE I & II IN SOKOTO AND KEBBI STATES AT KOKO/BESSE LGA, KEBBI STATE
Representative of the President and Hon. Minister of Justice and Attorney - General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN (2nd Left), Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN (left), Governor of Kebbi State, Mr. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (middle), Chairman, Senate Committee on Works and Senator representing Kebbi Central Senatorial District, Senator Adamu Aliero (right), Chairman, House Committee on Works, Hon. Abubakar Kabir Abubakar (2nd right) and others during the commissioning and Handover of Sokoto - Tambuwal -Jega - Kontagora - Makera Road Phase I & II in Sokoto and Kebbi States on Thursday, 25th November 2021 at Koko/Bese LGA, Kebbi State.
DR OGBONNAYA ONU, COMMISSIONER FOR WORKS, ENGR. GREG NNAJI AND OTHERS AT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S COMMISSIONING AND HANDOVER OF NNEWE - ODUMA ROAD, SECTIONS I & II IN ENUGU AND EBONYI STATES
A view of the Nnewe - Oduma Road, Sections I & II in Enugu and Ebonyi States.INSET: Representative of President Muhammadu Buhari and Hon. Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu (2nd left), representative of the Hon. Minister of Works & Housing and Director Highways, South East Zone, Engr. Bola Aganaba (left), , Commissioner for Works, Enugu State, Engr. Greg Nnaji(right), Chairman, Oduma Council of Traditional Rulers, HRH Igwe Daniel Njoku (2nd right) and others during the Federal Government's commissioning and Handover of Nnewe - Oduma Road, Sections I & II in Enugu and Ebonyi States at Km 16 Ezinato Ohafia Oduma , Enugu State on Thursday, 2nd December 2021