The agreement to concession the reclamation and infrastructure development of the second phase of FESTAC Town in Lagos to a consortium of private developers is expected to lead to the delivery of 50,000 housing units and earn the Federal Government N30 billion over a 30-year period.
Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mrs. Akon Eyakenyi, disclosed this at the signing of the public-private partnership (PPP) deal between Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and Messrs New FESTAC Property Development Company Limited (NFPDCL) for the development of 1,126 hectares of land in the largely swampy area to produce 7,000 serviced plots complete with standard infrastructure and all essential services.
The concession is to run for a period of 30 years, after which the concessionaire will transfer ownership to the Federal Housing Authority. NFPDCL is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) made of four companies – Fung Tai Engineering Limited, PW Nigeria Limited, SCC (Nigeria) Limited and Energo Nigeria Limited.
But the concessioning agreement has drawn mixed reactions from stakeholders, with some professionals in the built environment saying it will lead to proper planning while some residents are wary of the additional pressure on the already overstretched infrastructure.
A property developer who pleaded anonymity said the development would be hijacked by money bags, noting that the land should have been used for mass development of affordable housing using the instrumentality of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company.
He added that going by the over-subscription for the 10,000 mortgages that the Federal Government recently launched, more Nigerians would have benefitted if the land had been tailored towards such purpose. However, an estate surveyor, who also does not want to be named, hailed the concessioning.
According to him, it will lead to proper planning and monitoring of the development of the town and thereby eliminate incidence of illegal occupancy and the ‘Omo onile’ syndrome. He however cautioned that necessary checks must be put in place to curb land speculation.
Most residents who spoke on the matter expressed fear that the development will put further strain on the inadequate infrastructure in FESTAC town. They noted that currently, the road network in and out of the town are few leading to traffic build up during rush hours, adding that with the new development the situation is bound to be worse if more outlets are not created. This, according to them, is in addition to lack of public water and incessant power supply.
“Amazing, 7,000 plots to be sold in FESTAC area? Very soon, everyone will either have to walk to the office or ride bicycles. As FESTAC is at the moment, more connecting roads are needed as urgent as yesterday. Now I can’t see any plans to fix that here,” a respondent noted.
The minister has however allayed the fear of infrastructure breakdown, assuring that the money to be generated from the deal would be ploughed back into the rehabilitation of the first phase of the town. “Government earnings from the project are estimated at N25.765 billion as premium for 30 years of concession and an additional N150 million ground rent annually. [Vanguard]