As part of efforts at achieving the objectives of the National Housing Programme (NHP) in Nigeria, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) are being repositioned to play their role more effectively to address the housing problem in the country, Babatunde Fashola, minister, power, works and housing, says.
Fashola, who disclosed this at the sixth National Council on Land, Housing and Urban Development meeting in Abuja, noted that NHP was the first of its type on a national scale in many decades that sought to respond to the housing deficit in the country.
Unlike other housing programmes before it, the NHP, whose theme for this year is building for inclusion, growth and prosperity, has made significant progress in its implementation. The programme has taken off in 33 states where land has been made available.
About 653 contractors were engaged in the pilot scheme to deliver 2,736 housing units. A total of 54,680 people were employed in the process and, according to the minister, the opportunities for inclusion will involve masonry, electrical, plumbing, welding, supplies of materials, transportation and many more. “Our desire is to multiply these opportunities this year and beyond,” the minister said.
He disclosed further that FHA had been mandated by his ministry to reposition itself to be one of their champions of housing delivery based on its previous track record, just as FMBN would continue to deepen participation in the National Housing Fund (NHF), which forms a reliable pool of funding from which it lends money to contributors by way of mortgage loans to acquire houses.
“The bank has granted loans to estate developers to build houses and from their recent report to me, they currently have 3,823 housing units available for sale in various states of the federation. The ministry has directed that these units, their prices, description, location and eligibility criteria be widely publicised in transparent offers to interested members of the public,” he said.
He said the next level of intervention, which the ministry was developing, was the use of co-operatives, noting that this is very important to the theme and purpose of this year’s council meeting which centres around inclusion.
“Our experience has shown that very sizable parts of our population who are productive and self-employed have been excluded from formal processes that regulate access to funding, land or housing.
However, this large number of people operate successfully by themselves, in groups which they form as co-operatives to protect their common interests and pursue their developmental objectives,” he noted.
He observed that co-operatives have been very prolific and successful in sectors like agriculture and market organizations where the vulnerability of an individual is transformed into the strength of a group, saying that government sees no reason the successes of co-operatives in these sectors cannot be utilized to facilitate housing delivery, access and inclusion.
“We are determined to place the might of government at the disposal of groups who can form themselves into co-operatives as enabling capacity to acquire the land, take loans, build for themselves and operate a rent-to-own policy for those who cannot pay full ownership cost at start”, he assured.