The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola says the Federal Government is repositioning the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and Federal Housing Authority (FHA) to address the country’s housing needs.
Fashola made this known at the end of the sixth meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development organised by the ministry on Friday in Abuja.
“ FMBN and FHA are being repositioned to play their role more effectively to address the housing problem.
“For example, officials of the FHA have been mandated by the ministry to be repositioned in order to be one of our champions of housing delivery.
“Similarly, the FMBN continues to deepen participation in the National Housing Fund, which forms a reliable pool of funding from which she lends money to contributors by way of mortgage loans to acquire houses,’’ he said.
The minister noted that FMBN had increased its granting of loans to estate developers to build houses for Nigerians.
According to him, the agency currently has 3,823 housing units available for sale in various states of the Federation.
Fashola said the ministry had directed the agency to improve on its visibility and transparency by regularly publicizing offers to interested members of the public.
“Such publicity would contain the housing units, prices, location and eligibility criteria,’’ he said.
He further said the next level of intervention which the ministry was developing would be to leverage on existence of registered co-operatives for the members to own their property.
According to him, experience has shown that very sizable parts of the population who are productive and self-employed have been excluded from formal processes that regulate access to funding, land or housing.
He noted that people could operate successfully and access housing through the co-operative societies.
Fashola said co-operatives had been very prolific and successful in sectors like agriculture and market organisations where the vulnerability of an individual could be transformed into the strength of a group.
“Our Government sees no reason why the successes of co-operatives in these sectors cannot be utilised to facilitate housing delivery.
“We are determined to place the might of government at the disposal of groups who can form themselves into co-operatives.
“This would no doubt provide them the enabling capacity to acquire the land, take loans, build for themselves and operate a rent to own policy.
“When our work on the review of the existing laws, and the processes for eligibility are completed, we will undertake a national launch and enlightenment programme for active use of co-operatives in housing delivery,’’ Fasola said.
The minister said the present administration had improved the concept and design of the national housing programme.
He said the pilot stage implementation had already created opportunities for 653 contractors, and created 13,680 direct jobs and 41,000 indirect jobs.
“What we must do therefore is to repeat this programme year on year, not only at federal level but also at state level.
“If we also implement the housing co-operatives, leverage private sector capacity, strengthen FHA and FMBN to play their roles, we will create a housing economy that will irreversibly transform our nation,” the minister said. (NAN)