By Perpetua Onuegbu
The Federal Government says it is committed to providing affordable houses for Nigerians through various intervention programmes.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said this in Abuja while featuring on NANForum, the flagship interview programme of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
According to him, government is focused on not just mass housing but providing affordable homes for Nigerians which can be paid for with ease within a specified period.
“It is a function of many things, it does not necessarily mean how much a house costs but how you are asked to pay for it.
“So if a house is X naira and I ask you to pay for it at once, even if you earn so much you may not be able to afford it.
“But if I tell you that you can pay for it over 10 years it becomes affordable. So those are the things we are focusing on,” he said.
Fashola said houses as commodities ought to be delivered in partnership with the private sector with government providing policy direction.
“That is why we went into the National Housing Programme, it was to send a message to help define what type of houses Nigerians want, what type of houses they will live in.
“This came from the experience of the 1979 Shagari initative. There was almost uniformity at the time of houses and it was not successful in some parts as it was in some other places.
” In some places it was successful and in others it was not successful because of some cultural barriers, some people didn’t even live in them.
” So we asked what went wrong and did a survey and that led to the design of bungalows and the condomoniums we are building today.
“We have about 5000 units under construction, we have finished about 2,000 plus and again we are building in small phases.
” In some cases we are in phase 3, some cases phase 2, in some cases we have finished phase one and two and we are finishing the road network and water supply but very soon we will start the allocation process publicly.
” But that is just the National Housing Programme, it is one of our many interventions but it does not respond to everybody’s needs.
“There are people who want their own land, they don’t want built houses, so we are responding to those people through our site and service schemes,” the minister said.
Fashola said the ministry was also building directly through its parastatal agencies, adding that the Federal Housing Authority had completed over 1000 units.
‘The Federal Mortgage bank has about 5000-6000 units at different levels of completion through their Estate Developer Finance Loan.
“Then, we also have the Cooperative Housing Initative where we ask people to form themselves into cooperatives, get their own land and do their own design according their needs, size and what they can afford.
“Get your building approval, open a National Housing Fund account with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria and we will finance 80 percent of the development cost and give you morgage.
“The last cheque was about 58 different cooperatives from across Nigeria that applied for that and we are seeing more applications.
“The state governments too are now building, so this is not a Federal Government issue, it is a national issue,” the minister said.
“We are signing backlog of Certificates of Occupancy; I sign them everyday, every week, so those people who have also bought houses through Federal Government monetisation programme can own them.
“That is housing, because ownership gives you the capacity to do whatever thing you want with your land.
” Consent to transfer your land is part of this housing intervention, so there are so many layers of it,” Fashola added.(NAN)