•Says FG working with cooperatives to extend social housing units to more beneficiaries
The vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said cooperative societies were playing a strategic role in the implementation of the government’s social investment and intervention programmes. Osinbajo said the cooperatives had helped to ensure that a large number of people accessed the programmes.
He spoke Tuesday, when he received a delegation from the Cooperative Federation of Nigeria (CFN), led by the president, High Chief Tajudeen Oriyomi Ayeola, at the State House, Abuja.
The vice president stressed that cooperatives were an important part of the federal government’s strategy of ensuring that majority of citizens had access to government programmes.
He stated, “The partnership of cooperatives with government is possibly the only way of doing so in an efficient manner that ensures that government services and programmes get to the right people.
“Cooperatives give their memberships the leverage to be able to take facilities and make sure those facilities are returned. They also have more knowledge of their individual members.”
The vice president added, “The rationale for cooperatives, even in the 50s, remains relevant today. When we talk about cooperatives in the Western Region and how these were very helpful and even cooperatives across the country became important pillars in the economic development of the country.”
Osinbajo noted that government believed cooperatives would be useful in all the programmes around the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).
One of the programmes is the Family Homes Funds, under which the government plans to build 300,000 social housing units.
Osinbajo said, “The case for cooperatives is very well made, and what we must do as a government is look for ways of cooperating with the cooperative associations in ensuring that we are able to get this moving.”
Earlier in his remarks, Managing Director of Family Homes Fund (FHF), which is implementing the social housing element of the ESP, Femi Adewole, gave an update on the work done so far concerning the National Social Housing Programme.
Adewole said, “As at year-end 2021, 17,281 homes are at various stages of construction, either completed or in progress across 15 States.”
While awaiting disbursements from the Central Bank of Nigeria (cbn), Adewole disclosed that the agency was able to mobilise other resources, such as N10 billion from the Ministry of Finance, $60million from the African Development Bank, 20 million Euros from Agence Française De Développement, and about N20 billion recycled capital from sales of completed property, to execute the Social Housing programme for last year.
For 2022, FHF expects to do 20,640 units using its own resources, but CBN disbursements would avail the opportunity to do even much more than that.
The managing director said in order for the social housing scheme to reach a wider target audience outside those in formal employment, particularly the large population of citizens in the informal sector, FHF entered into a partnership with CFN in May last year and the objective was to leverage their reach to mobilise demands in groups from people in the informal sector.