Union threatens strike over FHA’s exclusion from policy

Fidelis Soriwei and Okechukwu Nnodim

The Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government-owned Companies has threatened industrial action following the alleged refusal of the Ministry of Works, Housing and Power to involve the Federal Housing Authority in the ongoing implementation of the National Housing Policy.

President General of the SSASCGOC, Mr. Mohammed Yunusa, on Friday said that the union had made repeated efforts to bring the issue to the attention of the Minister, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, without success.

He said that the association had also written to the Presidency, the National Assembly and other government bodies to draw attention to the exclusion of the FHA in the implementation of the National Housing Policy.

He said Fashola had yet to act on a directive by the Senate Committee on Housing on February 15, 2017 to include the FHA among the bodies implementing the NHP.

Yunusa said the ministry which formulated the policy had concluded arrangement to use private individuals for the construction of houses to the detriment of Nigerians.

He said that government officials were deliberately frustrating the FHA in order to use their cronies for the construction of houses.

He said, “The Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has refused to involve the FHA, a statutory government organisation in the National Housing Policy. We are aware that the ministry has concluded arrangement to use private individuals for construction of houses for Nigerians. If that is what will happen, the houses would not be affordable for Nigerians.

“We have gone through so many barriers to have interface with the Minister but he has built barriers around him. We have written series of letters, he does not respond to us let alone addressing the core issues.

“Our ability to work with government is being tested. We are appealing to the Minister not to disobey the National Assembly, violate the constitution and test the workers patience. If our matter is not attended to very soon, we may be constrained to call out our branches on solidarity strike.”

Reacting to the allegations, Special Assistant on Communications to Fashola, Mr. Hakeem Bello, told Saturday PUNCH that the Federal Government did not exclude the FHA from the National Housing Policy programme.

Bello, who spoke on behalf of the ministry, explained that the housing policy required some specific design that must be implemented on the houses that were constructed under the programme. The design, according to him, was agreed upon by stakeholders in the sector after wide consultations and findings across the country.

He said that successful contractors were employed for the projects after they applied following advertorials that were published in various national dailies.

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Source: Punch

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