Worried by the over 17 million housing deficit in the country, the Presidency has unveiled plans to invest about N500 billion in five years for the construction of social and affordable housing.
The project expected to be executed through the Family Homes Fund (FHF) is domiciled in the office of the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
Special adviser to the president on economic matters, Mr Adeyemi Dipeolu disclosed this in Abuja yesterday while addressing newsmen on the sideline of the second Nigeria housing finance conference organised by the Nigeria Integrated Social Housing (NISH) with the theme, ‘Innovative Financing of Affordable Housing’.
While NISH is designed for the provision of affordable housing to Nigerians both in the formal and informal sector, NISH was exclusively reserved for serving federal civil servants.
He hinted that government would release N100 billion yearly for the next five years to FHF with the intention of leveraging N1trillion from the private sector.
Dipeolu also confirmed that the money is meant for the construction of affordable housing, adding that Nigerians earning N30,000 could buy houses through the FHF.
He emphasised that some houses had been completed in Nasarawa state while about 3,000 to 6,000 are under construction across the country. The SSA-economic matters further disclosed that the ministry of power, works and housing has completed more than 2,000 houses, comprising 72 units across Nigeria for low and medium income earners.
Dipeolu who was represented by the senior special assistant to the president on infrastructure, Ms Imeh Okon said that FHF would be powered by the government but with private sector participation.
He noted that the federal government is brainstorming on how to facilitate cheaper mortgage for off-takers, adding that issues associated with hidden charges on mortgages are adequately addressed.
“Most of the mortgages that are being issued right now through the Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) to my understanding make these charges to cover their own administrative costs,” he said. To this end, he hinted that the Presidency is liaising with PMBs for cheaper mortgages so as to enable off-takers benefit massively from the project.
In his keynote address, former UN permanent representative and under secretary-general, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari asserted that building materials are critical to developing affordable housing. He suggested that housing policies should be geared toward encouraging new entrants into building materials industry adding that bulk discounts should be offered by manufacturers, especially for affordable housing projects. He described difficulties in land acquisition, technology, expertise and skilled manpower, building materials, infrastructure and finance as the major challenges militating the delivery of affordable housing in Nigeria .
Gambari who was represented by Amb. Sani Bala stated that the solution to land and land titles issues is within the purview of the federal and state governments. He enjoined government to consider granting 100 per cent waivers or lowering import duties on imported building materials, specifically tied to the affordable housing project after the approval of the proposed marshal plan.
On his part, the managing director of NISH, Mr Yemi Adelakun noted that the conference was targeted at proffering solutions that would enhance value for government expenditure on housing.
He was hopeful that it would facilitate the home ownership for low and medium income earners in the formal and informal sectors through cooperatives, which he believed would help in developing social capital.
Adelakun hinted that members of the cooperative would contribute money for the project while the properties would be developed at not-for-profit basis.
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