Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Investors from China have offered to fund the ambitious Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) project launched last year by the Head of Service of the Federation (HoS), Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, with a commitment of $300 million (approximately N108 billion).
The two Chinese firms, Global Hint Construction Company Limited ( GHCCL), and One Belt and One Road Financial Project Operation, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the HoS to construct over 5,000 housing units for civil servants in the Federal Capital Territory and Nasarawa State under the mass housing programme for civil servants.
They will collaborate on the task with local real estate firm, ZVECAN Consulting and Engineering Limited.
According to the terms of the MoU, the Chinese firms will deliver 700 units of houses on 100 hectares of land in each of the housing estates in Apo Resettlement Scheme and Imperial City, Mpape in Abuja.
In addition, the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation will liaise with Dangote Cement Company and other manufacturers to bring down the cost of building materials and make the property ranging from 2-3 bedroom terraces and one bedroom bungalows affordable for the workers.
Apart from bringing the cash, the Chinese partners will also provide back up technology, including solar power, construction materials and expatriate on site workforce.
Steven Kim, representing One Belt and One Road Financial Project Operation, said the FISH project would be funded from China through the One Belt, One Road office to realise the aim of setting up the initiative in support of a people oriented project.
Osagie Aigbe of GHCCL said the Chinese investors were hoping to draw from their experience in Angola and Kenya to bear positively on the Nigerian mandate.
In Kenya, they built 3,000 housing units in Kisumu County and Omar Bay County and also handled staff housing units in Angola.
Last year, over 30,000 federal workers keyed into the FISH Cooperative Society Limited, hoping to buy houses offered by developers at discounted prices in preferred locations in Abuja and Lagos.