The President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, has berated the Federal Government for not taking workers’ income into consideration in the housing projects being implemented across the nation.
Comrade Kaigama said previous efforts to build houses for workers had remained white elephant projects because they did not take time to plan for the workers by knowing their salary strengths.
He said, “When you are building houses and you do not know your offtakers’ status, your effort will be in vain. What we have currently is a case of building for the upper class.”
He disclosed this in Abuja at a stakeholders’ forum to announce a partnership arrangement between workers of the Voice of Nigeria (VON) and Value Chain Consults.
The partnership is meant to construct houses for VON workers to be undertaken by Value Chain Consults.
Kaigama said the project would cover two states in each geopolitical zone, with special ones in Abuja and Lagos in the first phase. He noted that the project which had the backing of President Muhamadu Buhari was an important incentive to make workers more productive, prevent corruption, as well as check insecurity.
He commended Value Chain Consults for painstakingly carrying out detailed housing affordability survey for the civil servants, which would eliminate the problem of unoccupied houses due to the inability of workers to pay, and also commended them for taking the pain to pre-qualify the workers before embarking on the construction of the houses.
Kaigama wondered why international banks gave loans at single digit, while Nigerian banks charged as high as 25 percent interest from loans.
The Director General (DG) of VON, Osita Okechukwu, assured the workers that the project would be carefully executed for their benefit and that 20 hectares had been allocated at Lugbe for the first phase.
“I want to assure you that when the planning stage is completed within the next two weeks, we will commence construction of the houses and Mr. President will commission them,” he said.
He said all VON staff would be accommodated under the arrangement, starting with staff residing in Abuja.