By Emmanuel Addeh
The federal government has flagged off its nationwide low-cost housing scheme in Abuja, announcing that its prices will range between N1.4 million and N1.8 million for a one-bedroom and two-bedroom units respectively, excluding financing and infrastructure costs.
Coming under the National Social Housing Programme (NSP) and executed by the Family Homes Funds Limited (FHFL), the scheme, the government said, would involve the building and acquisition of 300,000 units across the country through a transparent process.
Speaking during the media launch and official unveiling of the registration portal, Managing Director, FHFL, Mr. Femi Adewale, noted that in the course of the project, the plan was to achieve 90 per cent local manufacture of building materials.
Quoting from a 2019 poverty and equality report, Adewale noted that the statistics indicated that 40.1 per cent of Nigeria’s total population was classified as poor, with average four out of 10 individuals in Nigeria having a real per capital expenditure below N137, 430 per year.
“This translates to over 82.9 million Nigerians who are considered poor by national standards. According to the BoS 18 per cent of these (about 15m) live in urban areas.
“In simple terms, it means that all that 82.9 million Nigerians can afford to spend on anything – housing, food, healthcare, education, clothing is a maximum of N137, 840 a year.
“So, it is safe to assume that they can only afford to spend a fraction of this on housing,” he stated.
He argued that even if the over 80 million Nigerians spent all of that money on housing, they would still be unable to have a decent roof over their head, especially those in the urban areas.
“That is why this government is rightly and absolutely committed to the difficult job of lifting this section of our population out of poverty. The mass housing programme – now branded the social housing programme is an important element of that,” he added.
He said the portal will provide an opportunity for local manufacturers of building materials such as doors, windows, ironmongery, etc to register interest in participation as bulk suppliers into the project.
Managing Director, Nigeria Police Property Development and Construction Company (NPPDCC), one of the partners of the scheme, Kemi Sijuade, expressed delight that affordable housing was being developed for the men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force as well as the general public.
“Nigeria has an estimated housing deficit between 16 million to 22 million and to bridge it, we would need to build a minimum of 700,000 to one million housing units every year for probably a decade.
“Whereas, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria presently builds an average of only 100,000 housing units per year and only a few working-class Nigerians can afford to buy one. This ought not to be so.”