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Fashola seeks stronger support on national housing scheme

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola on Thursday in Abuja reiterated the need to intensify the synergy between the Federal and state governments toward delivering affordable houses to Nigerians.

Fashola made the call at the 8th meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development.

The event had the theme “Housing Development and Consumer Credit as Strategies for National Prosperity’’.

The minister urged state governments to provide lands to support the national housing programme which encouraged easy access to loans by cooperative societies for houses at affordable costs.

He emphasised that the initiative was designed to encourage local manufacturers, professionals, artisans and craftsmen to own houses at affordable costs through the cooperative housing scheme.

Fashola pointed out that the scheme would in turn contribute to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by generating jobs and creating wealth.

According to him, the Federal Government wants artisans, transporters and carpenters to form cooperative societies; Federal Government will give loans through the National Housing Fund (NHF) and let states provide lands with titles.

“This scheme is not only for the civil servants, it is for people both in formal and the informal sectors to benefit.

“Once they give you the certificate of Occupancy, it increases the value of the land and if you can access credit you are no longer a poor man you are on your way to prosperity.

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“When you are building you create opportunity for artisans to help earn three to four thousand naira daily, if you calculate that over a week, that is some income.

“And every time you get income to your pocket you are stepping away from poverty and you are stepping into the ladder of prosperity.

He urged state governments to upgrade slums in their various states by providing the needed infrastructure.

“When we renew a slum we add value to the quality of lives there, every time you renew a slum the rental value increases and the land lord becomes a richer man and the quality of lives also improves.

“These are the ways millions of people are going to come out of poverty,’’ Fashola said.

Earlier, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa, Managing-Director, Federal Mortgage Bank, said that the bank’s single digit interest rate of six per cent on mortgage and home renovation loans was the lowest compared to what is obtainable in the open market.

He said that the bank had concluded various initiatives to make shelter more accessible and affordable by the reduction of equity contribution for NHF mortgage loans to zero per cent for loans of five million naira and below.

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Dangiwa added that loans of five million to 15 million would attract only 10 per cent down payment.

“In addition, the Rent-to-Own initiative eliminates equity contribution and payment of mortgage perfection fees, which accounts for up to 20 per cent of mortgage transaction costs.

“Under a simple rental arrangement, an individual gains immediate access to a housing property while the monthly rent is accrued to serve as equity build-up towards ownership of the property,’’ he said.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Housing, Dr Sam Egwu expressed the commitment of the National Assembly to provide legislative support to support the housing sector.

He said that the legislature would give priority to any bill that seeks to address the challenges confronting the sector.

“I invite you the stakeholders to commence such bills and forward to us for consideration,’’ Egwu said.

The lawmaker who pointed out that many houses in urban centres were unoccupied due to high costs, expressed concern that insecurity was forcing more people to come to urban centres with difficulties to afford housing.


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