According to reports, Kaduna state has a 30,000 housing deficit, out of the 17 million national average, what is the government doing to bridge this gap?
I’m glad you also mentioned that there is a national housing deficit, so it’s not a problem that is peculiar to Kaduna state. As a government, Kaduna state is doing quite a lot not just on its own but even in partnership with the private sector. Since 2015 that this administration came in, it has partnered with so many private developers who are interested in building mass housing in the state. As we speak now, we have close to, or even more than 5,000 housing units at various levels and stages of construction going on in Kaduna. We partner with private individuals, make them sign Development Lease Agreements, give them hectares of land depending on what proposal they bring. We also give them timelines within which to attain certain milestones.
In addition, Kaduna State Development and Property Company (KSDPC) is being revamped to take its proper position. Government has recapitalized it, the company has also started taking part in the building of houses; their own houses are being sold on commercial basis. They are into housing just like any other private developer. The company builds houses, then any interested resident of Kaduna or citizen of Nigeria or anybody from anywhere, can approach them, if there are houses available, they sell to them.
Apart from the Public Private Partnership and the building of houses and sale on commercial basis, government is also intervening directly in the housing sector. When Malam Nasir El-Rufai returned as governor of Kaduna state in the second term, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development was established. And one of the mandates given to the ministry is to see how this housing deficit will be reduced or how we can improve on the housing stock. So, in addition to working with all these private sectors that we have mentioned, government also now budgets for the Ministry of Housing, to enable it go into the building of houses. So, what we are doing as a ministry is to focus on the low income earners; so the fund that is being budgeted is concentrated in building one to three bedroom apartments or housing units for the low income earners. That is what government is doing to bridge the gap.
As we speak now, in Kaduna metropolis alone, we have about 428 units of between one to three bedrooms that are under construction. Many of them are at an advanced stage and we are putting them out in the market for sale. And we have also awarded contracts for additional units, starting with about 100 units each in Zaria and Kafanchan. Those ones are just about to take off and we are still in the early stages; contractors are being mobilized, and they are about moving to the sites.
So, these are our modest contributions for now and we are trying to put in place a structure to make it sustainable. We want it to be a revolving thing, so that a time may come that even though we are in the budget, government may not really have anything to do with it anymore. Whatever they give us initially, we want to consider it as seed money so that we can replicate this across the state for the benefit of the low-income earners. That is what we have been doing in the past two years or thereabout.
Like you mentioned, some of houses are being built by Public Private Partnership. Some are built by direct government intervention. Under which category does the Urban Mass Housing at Rigasa and Ungwan Tanko fall?
As a matter of fact, that project is purely owned by Kaduna State Government, it is funded through public funds; it has been budgeted for.
What conditions is a prospective buyer expected to meet, in order to acquire one of these mass houses?
You probably have seen the adverts that we put out. The first step is for you to show that you are interested by approaching a bank; there is an account on our advert where you will pay a token of about N5,000. Then you come to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, particularly to the Permanent Secretary’s office, to pick up the form, fill and submit.
The next stage is to wait and see if you are selected for the allocation. And once you are selected, that offer will be conveyed to you with certain conditions. The terms of payment will be clearly spelt out. And I think, right now, what the State Executive Council has approved for us to do is that, in the first one month after you get your allocation, you should make commitment of at least 10% of the cost of the house. It should be paid as a way of showing commitment and the total payment should be completed within the period of six months. And along the line, we will encourage you to also show evidence that you have opened a file with the Kaduna Geographic Information Service (KADGIS). This is because we want people to actually own their homes. Not only are you buying this house, we want you to own your Certificate of Occupancy on the house you are paying for. So that by the time we give you your final allocation of the houses, we convey that to KADGIS along with your house number and the exact spot you occupy. This will enable KADGIS process your C of O, so that they can have you in their database. Then if you are the type that will want to go through mortgage, you are free to do so.
So, you mean prospective buyers can make mortgage arrangements with financial institutions?
Of course, they can make any private mortgage arrangement of their choice, as long as they pay for the houses within the stipulated time. But we are already in talks with the Cooperative Mortgage Bank, they are ready to partner with us on this. For the benefit of those who don’t know where to go to, we will introduce them and link them up. The bank officials have been holding meetings with us. Other mortgage banks have held meetings with us as well but we are partnering with the Cooperative Mortgage Bank. So, prospective buyers can talk to them and if they fulfill their requirements, the bank will provide the mortgage.
But before you can do that you, you have to be eligible, and have the ability to pay the loans. Those are things that the mortgage banks will be looking at and that is why we are also taking the pains to make sure that we encourage prospective home owners to open a file in KADGIS, so that the process of their C of O will commence. I don’t think any mortgage bank will be comfortable giving out money if they don’t have anything to hold on to, in case of default. That is why we also have been discussing with the DG of KADGIS on how we are going to give a special consideration for the processing of the C of O of these houses.
What are the criteria for the selection of buyers, after filling and submitting the forms?
We have set up a committee headed by the Perm Sec of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and then we are also involving other MDAs so that we can get all the groups that we targeting. Don’t forget, we said these are low income houses. The committee members will include the office of the Head of Service, because of civil servants. Then we will have the Ministry of Human Services and Social Development obviously because they deal with different cooperative groups like the market women associations and all that. Then we also have the Ministry of Business Innovation and Technology, because they also associate with different groups like the mechanics. So, we want them to be represented.
The bank will also send representatives so that they will be able to sort things out because on the form, prospective buyers have to state what they do and how much they are worth. They have a formula that they apply, to recommend those who we can give these houses to. There is no point for us to give the house to somebody that obviously cannot pay, because these houses have to be paid for, and on time, so that the cycle can keep revolving.
Is it possible for a single high net worth individual or a business person, to buy several units or almost all the houses, with the intention of reselling them for profits?
No, that is not what this housing project is all about. This particular program is not for someone to just come and buy up and start reselling. No, we said it’s for low -income earners, so that is clearly not part of the program.
Are there measures put in place to check this possibility?
That’s why the committee is in place to make sure that these checks are put in place. We want to be able to target those who really deserve the houses but at the same time, those who can pay for the houses. We will then help them see how they can pay for them. We want people who have a source of livelihood. So, these houses are not meant for high net worth individuals. I hope very soon that KSDPC will be able to build those kinds of houses that high net worth individuals can be able to buy up to 100 units if they want, but of course that one will be strictly on commercial cash and carry basis.
-Kaduna State Government is using a combination of Public Private Partnership and direct intervention to bridge its housing deficit;
-The state government is building 228 housing units at Rigasa and 224 others at Unguwan Tanko within Kaduna metropolis, as part of its Social Housing Programme that targets low income earners;
-The housing units which comprise one and three bedroom houses in Rigasa, are now in the market for sale;
– A one bedroom house costs N4, 230,000 while a semi detached one-bedroom costs N5,170,000 and a two bedroom bungalow costs N6,570,000;
-In Zaria and Kafanchan, 100 units will be built in each town to boost the housing stock;
-In addition, KDSG is partnering with private companies to provide affordable houses in the state;
-The government has given several private developers parcels of land after signing Development Lease Agreements;
-The administration gives them timelines within which to attain certain milestones, failing which KADGIS will recommend that the contract should be reviewed;
-Apart from direct financing of housing projects by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, and the Public Private Partnership, the Kaduna State Development Property Company (KSDPC) is also building houses which it sells at commercial rates;
-Any interested citizen of Kaduna state or even citizen of Nigeria or anybody from anywhere, can buy from the company.