Economic Recovery: FG’s N200bn Low Cost Housing Scheme Takes off

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* Housing scheme to create 1.8m jobs

 *20 states key into initiative

*CBN to fund scheme

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

In continuous pursuit of economic sustainability plan (ESP) conceived to cushion the biting effects of the current economic crisis, the federal government at the weekend announced the take-off of N200 billion social housing initiative to build 300,000 affordable housing units for citizens.

The initiative, being funded by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), with 20 of the 36 states of the federation already indicating interest to participate in the housing scheme will begin this week.

THISDAY learnt yesterday that a portal, Nshp.gov.ng.,meant to serve as the platform for inviting interested beneficiaries and delivery partners would be launched by Family Homes’ Fund, a federal government agency set up to implement the scheme this week.

Speaking on the initiative, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity (Office of the Vice President), Mr. Laolu Akande, said 20 states which had indicated interest in the scheme included the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) adding that many had offered free land for the construction of the houses.

Akande who said the housing units would be offered for as low as N1.8 million-N2m, listed the states which had already keyed into the initiative to include: Osun, Ogun, Enugu, Delta, Bauchi, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Plateau, and the FCT with the first set of construction sites mapped out already.

Other states which he said were putting machinery in place to participate in the initiative, are: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo, Cross River, Sokoto, Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina, Borno and Yobe States.

Akande explained that under the ESP social housing plan, 300,000 low cost houses would create 1.8 million jobs in the housing sector and beyond, adding that the scheme was approved by both President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Executive Council.

He gave a breakdown on how the initiative will work with updates on the scheme from its conception level.

He said: “In June 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the N2.3 trillion Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) prepared by the Osinbajo-led Economic Sustainability Committee.

“The federal government social housing scheme is one of the planned schemes under the ESP targeted at providing 300,000 low-income houses and creating 1.8 million jobs in the process.

“To achieve these goals, the Family Homes Funds has been appointed as the implementing agency for this initiative and it will construct 300,000 housing units across the country.

“To kickstart the social housing projects, the CBN has already committed to a N200 billion facility and most of the sites where the housing project will commence have already been identified across various geo-political zones by the federal government.

“The early start sites include those in Osun and Ogun in the Southwest; Enugu in the Southeast; Delta, in the South-south; Bauchi in the Northeast; Kebbi in the Northwest; Nasarawa and Plateau in the North-central; and a number of sites in Abuja.

“Several other states including Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo, Cross River, Sokoto, Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina, Borno, and Yobe, are also working towards kick-starting the project in their states in the next phase.

“The programme has one-two and three-bedroom units that will be sold at low prices. The one-bedroom unit will cost as little as between N1.8miliion to N2million, while financial assistance would be available for Nigerians to pay the mortgage.

“To achieve the low-price points being targeted, a model design has been produced for the 1- and 2-bedroom houses against which a sample house has been built to demonstrate the costings.

“The form of financial assistance that will be made available to Nigerians include mortgage loans at low interest rates. Financing will be arranged through the designation of a homes’ warehousing agent that will purchase the completed homes from the developers. Individual buyers will then purchase homes from these homes’ warehousing agents.

“Family Homes Fund Limited (FHFL) has mobilised cooperatives and other such organised groups across the country as the main offtakers for the homes. For instance, FHFL recently met with 93 cooperative leaders from the six geographical zones, under the aegis of the Co-Operatives Federation of Nigeria.

“A housing portal that allows all interested parties in the scheme to get more information on the programme and express their interest in it will be launched on the 16th of December. Possible interested parties include individuals and organized groups interested in home ownership under the scheme, as well as delivery partners including developers, young professionals in the building industry, suppliers, and manufacturers.”