By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
Contract worth N2.9 billion for the construction of twenty-three kilometers of access roads within the six housing estates in the six emirate areas of Bauchi state being constructed to reduce the housing deficit in the state has been awarded by the government.
A number of 2.500 housing units are being collaboratively constructed by the Federal Ministry of Finance through its subsidiary – Family Homes and the Bauchi State government at a whopping sum of N15 billion, now reaching appreciable stage of completion.
Governor Bala Mohammed who has just completed a three-day projects inspection tour across the state, was at the Dungal village site of one of the six estates where he said however that inflationary trend across the globe as a result COVID-19 fallout, has forced the government to cut down the housing units by a reasonable number.
He explained that the inflationary trend sweeping across the globe, resulting from the pandemic has forced the State Government and Family Homes, executors of the on-going construction of Bauchi 2, 500 housing units’ project to cut down the units.
Senator Bala Mohammed who did not specify the number of units that could be cut down from the total of 2, 500 units, said that the cut would also provide room for the provision of other infrastructural facilities such as pipe borne water, schools and markets.
“This project we are doing it with family homes as a joint venture, it is delayed because of inflationary trend which caught up with the project, otherwise we would have ended this project by the end of last year”.
The Governor said, “We are now looking inward to reduce the number of houses in the project to procure some infrastructure within the estates, because we cannot just build houses without roads, without water, among others”.
Mohammed stated that he has already directed the Bauchi State Urban Water and Sewerage Corporation (BASUWSC) to reticulate water to Dungal estate with a pumping station there, stressing “We plan to build this place to a new city in Bauchi coming from Jos road where we would have everything”.
“We are going to build a secondary school, primary school and primary health centre and all that you need in a city, markets, schools, and everything. I want assure the contractors that Iam very flexible and dynamic in my leadership.
He added, “Contractors building the other Estates in Misau, Katagum, Ningi, Jama’are, and Dass have all spoken about inflation on building materials. I have already directed the Commissioners of Housing, Finance, Works, and Due Process to review the programme in a manner that it will give profitability to the contractors”
Senator Bala Mohammed assured that the houses would be allocated mostly to less privileged members of the society, especially civil servants, as well as politicians but would cut across all party lines, stressing that every citizen of the state can own a house.
Mohammed therefore directed the Due Process Office to review the project cost for profitability to the contractors whom, he said, have been executing the project at a loss due to the inflationary trend sweeping across the land.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for directing the Federal Ministry of Finance to provide the N12 billion loan, while the state government is expected to source the N3 billion for successful execution of the housing project, saying the President so much like Bauchi state.
Receiving the governor to the project site earlier, Bauchi state Commissioner for Housing and Environment, Hon. Hamisu Mu’azu Shira disclosed that about 2, 000 citizens of the state are earning daily living under the project.
The commissioner told the governor that under the Dungal village housing estate, a number of 750 units of 2 and 3-bedrooms have been erected, saying the project would have been commissioner last December but for the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the entire world.
Hon. Hamisu Shira explained that the Dungal Housing Estate is the biggest Housing Estate in the state ever since the creation of the state in 1976, saying the so-called Gida Dubu Housing Estate has only 280 houses, adding “Before the advent of the 2, 500 housing units, the state has not up to 500 units in all its housing estates”.
Shira expressed dismay that the construction of the 2, 500 housing units in the state is beclouded by inflation of building materials, recalling that at the advent of the houses construction, a bag of cement was sold at N2, 300 when it now astronomically risen to over N4, 000 per bag.
Hon. Hamisu Shira expressed optimism that the 2, 500 units of six the Housing Estates would be commissioned by September this year, and commended the cooperation being extended to his ministry by the Due Process Office, the contractors, and other stakeholders in the project.