Image Credits: FMBN.
As part of efforts to bridge the nation’s shelter gap, the Federal Government on Monday unveiled its first affordable housing cooperative in Lagos State.
Flagging off the scheme at Lekki, Sen. Gbenga Ashafa, Managing Director, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), said that both the formal and informal sectors were captured in the ongoing mass housing drive.
Ashafa,was represented by Mr Hayatuddeen Awwal, Managing Director, FHA Mortgage Bank.
He explained that the FHA Mortgage Bank operated a single digit interest rate and the FHA was committed to making low interest mortgage available to all Nigerians.
“We are glad to be a part to pioneer the affordable homes cooperative initiative in Lagos,’’ he said.
According to him, design and costing are important components that the FHA took into consideration to deliver right specifications to end users.
He said that the FHA has a Cooperative Homes Ownership Department which had professionals that evolved designs that captured specific needs to make houses affordable to end users, especially in the informal sectors.
Ashafa added that the FHA Mortgage Bank, a subsidiary of the FHA, also accesses the National Housing Funds (NHF) on behalf of Nigerians, which allows cooperative societies or individuals to access mortgages.
“Mortgage can be accessed for a period of up to 30 years and the cap on the mortgage is N15 million.
“So informal sector are always encouraged. On our database as I speak now, we have over 15,000 informal sectors duly registered, evaluated and appraised indexed by the bank,’’ he said.
He commended the Lagos State Government for the strategies to increase housing stock.
Ashafa said that FHA was rejuvenating FESTAC and trying to reclaim over 1,000 hectares of land “to demonstrate how affordable home ownership would be delivered to Nigerians especially those from the informal sector’’.
According to him, the FHA is also collaborating with the LASG and other private developers to acquire over 60 hectares along Sagamu Expressway for another affordable mass housing initiative.
He added that 18 units were handed over to beneficiaries of FHA housing schemes recently in Lagos, adding that, the programmes were ongoing in Ibadan, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Owerri, Enugu and other states.
“So, FHA and FHA Mortgage Bank is committed to making sure that houses are affordable to Nigerians both in the formal and informal sector,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Ambassador Ayodeji Amodu, Senior Special Assistant to Lagos State Governor on Housing, said that the state government was making deliberate policies targeted at increasing housing stock to cater for population upsurge.
Amodu said that vertical buildings were being adopted alongside innovative technology that reduced construction time.
According to him, collaborations with private partnerships are being explored to produce affordable decent houses for Lagos residents.
“Based on the T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda in which the thrust is to transform the state into a 21st century economy that is comparable to others in the world, the housing development policies would be more robust and yet domesticated to our environment.
“Affordability and accessibility are also critical factors being considered in terms of provision of scalable homes for the low income earners with appropriate mortgage for those with structured earnings.
“Government is for all and many people fall within this category,” he said.
Mrs Morola Babalola, Managing Director, Townsend Property Investment Ltd, pioneer of the Affordable Housing Cooperative in Lagos, said that the informal sector accounted for about 40 per cent shelter gap in Lagos.
Babalola said that the daily income earners like the vulcanizers, hairdressers, drivers and others all belonged to cooperative societies which her firm would liaise with to deliver decent affordable houses to them.
She said that those in the informal sector lived in squalors and the huge shelter gap must be closed by targeting an inclusive saving plan to deliver decent affordable houses to them.
“Our focus is to provide every Nigerian the opportunity of affordable and decent living, bridging the gap of the housing deficit in Nigeria, “she said.
She stressed the need to upgrade living standards and ensure that communities become organised and structured to prevent haphazard development and settlements.
“We are going to create a formal structure for the informal sector,” she said.
Babalola called for collaboration of all stakeholders as well as state and federal governments to join hands with the company in its efforts to open up new decent communities. (NAN)