By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
An expert in the housing sector and convener of the Abuja International Housing Show, Barr. Festus Adebayo, has lamented that the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to merge the Ministry of Housing with that of Power and Works has stifled growth in the sector, while also contributing to housing deficit in the country.
To this end, he called on the president to as a matter of urgency separate the ministry of Housing from that of Power and Works so that there would be high level of concentration in the sector, as the federal government plans to deliver affordable houses to low income earners.
Adebayo made the call Saturday in Abuja while addressing a press briefing with select journalists, where he also urged Buhari to use the Housing sector to drive the economy, as he commences his second term in office.
He stated: “President Muhammadu Buhari must as a matter of urgency separate the Ministry of Housing from the Ministries of Power and Works. It is like the merger is not working because the power situation is not improving.
“The need to separate the ministry of Housing from Power cannot be over-emphasised so that there can be high level of concentration.”
Adebayo said that the Family Housing Funds (FHF) was the best intervention policy of the Buhari administration, adding that the intervention was aimed at addressing housing problem of low income earners.
He stressed the scheme which was at the take off stage had already delivered 700 housing units in Masaka, Nasarawa state.
Adebayo stressed: “The take off of Family Homes Fund is just now. When you start a company and they establish you on paper, there is need for you to have an office, there is need for you to have administrative staff and all sort of things.
“But within the six months, FHF has successfully financed a project in Masaka, Nasarawa state. They call it luxury one, luxury two and each of them has 350 units. Meaning 700 houses have already been delivered. The highest cost of the house is N4.5 million, meaning the one bedroom is within the range of N2 million, 2bedroom N2.5 million, 3bedroom 3.5 million. You only pay 50 per cent and the other 50 per cent will be acquired through mortgage.”
“Apart from the one in Masaka, Family Homes Fund is already building in Kano, Lagos, Kaduna, Delta, and Ogun states. It is established to have presence in all six geo-political zones plus Abuja. The only good thing I have seen in Buhari’s government is Family Homes Fund,” he said.
Adebayo explained further that while the FHF was not on ground to do what Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) was doing or what any estate developer was doing, he noted that what the estate developers could not do was what the FHF had come to do.
“The difference between the National Housing programmes where the Minister has been building houses in all the states of the federation and family homes fund is affordability. It is not around to duplicate what FMBN is doing but to complement it. The area that FMBN cannot reach, then, the Family Homes Fund comes in,” Adebayo said.
He stressed the need for political will in order to tackle housing deficit in the country, noting that the political will would bring strong implementation that would arrest the issue of housing deficit.
According to him, “Political will is what made the government to say don’t give loan of agriculture on double-digit interest rate, an order from CBN to all commercial banks. So, if the government of Nigeria has the political will, the CBN will come up with a policy that will direct banks to give a certain percentage of loan for housing and it must not go beyond one digit interest rate.”