- State focused on building sustainable healthcare system, says Obaseki
Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The Edo State Government, through its housing arm Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA) has sealed a deal for the construction of 1,800 housing units in Benin City, with MIXTA Africa, a private property development company to boost housing stock in the state capital, through a Joint Venture Partnership.
The deal was sealed during a meeting between the Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, EDPA and MIXTA Africa’s team, at the Government House, on Tuesday, in Benin City.
Obaseki said the State has acquired 100 hectares of land in Ikpoba-Okha and Uhunmwode local government areas for the housing projects.
He stated further that there are other sites proposed within the Benin Industrial Park and the New Town. He assured that “the state government will provide the infrastructure for the project to ensure quality and affordable homes for our people.”
The governor said the ground-breaking ceremony for the housing project would be done by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in June.
“The plan is to provide accommodation for residents and indigenes at home and abroad. The project will provide opportunities for businesses in the State and create new jobs,” he explained, adding that EDPA has been strengthened by a new law.
“This is one in a series of similar projects that will be done by the State through EDPA. The success of this project is key to housing delivery. The housing project will boost local businesses in the state as some of the materials to be used for the project, such as ceramics, steel, roofing sheets will be produced locally in the State. We want to use the project to develop the supply chain of inputs that are locally produced in the State to grow our local businesses.”
He said the State government was in talks with civil servants on how members of the unions can access the National Housing Fund for mortgages and benefit from the housing project.
He said the State was also working with the Federal Mortgage Bank on the possibility of providing mortgage for civil servants to enable them key into the opportunities the housing project offers.
The Managing Director, MIXTA Africa, Mr. Kola Ashiru-Balogun, said the first phase of the project would commence in June and be completed within 12 months.
Ashiru-Balogun said MIXTA Africa has a record of over 10,000 housing units developed across Africa and has decided to partner the State because of the Obaseki-led administration’s drive for developmental projects, adding that there are different payment plans being considered including a 24-month interest free payment plan.
He added that “MIXTA Africa is discussing with financial institutions to see how arrangements can be made to provide longer tenured financing payment plans. We recognise the market and we will offer affordable housing. The governor has indicated that we use the project to create jobs.”
Present at the signing ceremony was the Executive Chairman of EDPA – Isoken Omo, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, amongst others.
Meanwhile, Governor Obaseki, has said the state government was determined to build a sustainable healthcare system that would prioritise the revamp of primary healthcare institutions for optimum service delivery.
Obaseki disclosed this when he received the management team of 4 Breath 4 Life, Canada, who were on a courtesy visit to the Government House in Benin City.
He said the government was focused on fixing the healthcare system to ensure that structures are in place to sustain the reforms, noting, “One of our key agenda is to fix the healthcare system. We are thinking through the challenges in the health care system and determined to solve them.”
According to him, “The health care system worked effectively at a time, but failed later because we departed from the key building blocks. In Edo State, we are determined to fix the problem by addressing the challenges with primary healthcare system. A part of the reforms is to equip the primary healthcare centres with qualified medical personnel.”
Obaseki said a set of 20 primary healthcare centres are operating across the state, adding, “In the next two years, the state government intends to roll out about 200 primary healthcare centres.”
Earlier, Executive Director, 4 Breath 4 Life, Canada, Dr. Olumide Oyefeso, commended the effort of the governor in revamping the healthcare system in the state.
He said the group was in the state to seek areas of collaboration with the state government to address maternal and infant mortality, explaining that Nigeria has one of the worst mortality rates in the world with more than 700 babies dying daily.
Oyefeso stressed, “Our goal as a group is to change the narrative and statistics as many of the deaths recorded at birth are preventable.”
He appealed for a policy to ensure that only qualified medical experts attend to babies to ensure infant mortality is reduced in the state.