June 16, 2009

FG, developers to build 1,729 houses

By Chris Ochayi

ABUJA—The Federal Government yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Development Lease Agreement (DLA) with eleven private sector real estate developers to construct 1, 729 affordable housing units across the country.

Minister of Works, Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Hassan Mohammed Lawal who signed the agreement on behalf of the government, however, warned the developers and investors on the various projects against building substandard houses.

He urged them to maintain high quality by totally deviating from trying to lower the quality of houses they intended to build for the people.

The minister disclosed that, the management of the ministry was under strict instruction from President Umaru Yar’Adua to provide Federal Government lands across the country to private sector real estate developers in order to address the issue of acute housing accommodation being experienced in the country.

Dr. Lawal, who promised them of unhindered access to land, noted that the ministry is ready to accelerate the process of land acquisition for all intending private developers.

He also declared that, the Federal Government lands are available throughout the country.

“I welcome the private sector real estate developers and investors present at this event and wish to assure you of the government’s commitment to the PPP programme. It is my hope that this collaboration and partnership will yield the desired outcome of improved access to affordable and decent housing conditions for Nigerians”.

The minister noted that, apart from providing the housing accommodation for Nigerians, the current Private Public Partnership (PPP) arrangement in the housing sector would create employment opportunity for Nigerians.

In her remarks, the Minister of State for Works, Housing and Urban Development, Mrs. Grace Ekpiwhre noted that the a total of one million houses would be built annually before 2020 through the PPP scheme.

She explained that, to achieve this, the Federal Government has taken a step to increase the capital base of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to ensure effective service delivery.