From Paul Orude, Bauchi
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state has directed that the contract for the construction of 2,500 houses across the state be re-procured.
Mohammed gave the directive following sudden surge in the prices of cement and other building materials in Nigeria
He stated this in Dungal village, one of the areas housing the project within Bauchi Local Government, while inspecting the progress of woek.
He observed that the prices of cement and other building materials had risen above what was obtainable last year when the contract was awarded.
“This project, we are doing it as a joint venture with family homes, it is delayed because of inflationary trend which caught up with the project”, he said.
“Our intention was to built 2,500 of the houses but because of inflation in prices of cement which was N2000 plus and now is been sold above N3000 or even N4000, we have to reduce the number of the houses”, the Governor said.
Governor Mohammed said in all the housing project sites he visited, he was informed of the changes in prices of the building materials in such a way that the contractors are left with nothing as profit.
“We will look inward, I have already directed the Commissioner of housing, the Commissioner of finance and that of works and in fact our due process to re- procure this project in a manner that there will be some minimal profitability,”he said.
According to him, by reducing the number of the houses, it will enable the government construct roads as well as ensure that justice is done to the contractors for them to get small profits.
“We can not just built houses without roads, without water but I must inform you, already I have directed the water board of Bauchi to reticulate water to this place”, he said.
Mohammed who informed his government’s intention to make Dungal village to a new city in Bauchi, said both primary and secondary as well as primary health center would be built opposite the estate to open up the area.
The Governor expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for directing the federal ministry of finance which releasedthe sum of N12 billion for the project on loan.
“This is to show that Mr president like Bauchi, it was the same people who voted for him that voted for Bala Kaura and I am his son and are the same, and we think the same way, the only different is the party”, the Governor noted.
He assured the contractors that he is very flexible and dynamic in his leadership and as such he will look into their plight because from Azare, Jama’are where he visited where all complaining about the rate of inflation in the building.
He said that the housing project could have been completed as at the end of last year but because of the evaluation system whereby milestone rather than just evaluating and assessment and measurement are been used.