By Laide Akinboade
MTN FoundationÂ (MTNF), last week, handed over 100 housing units of 2 bedrooms each with construction cost put at N117 million to Habitat for Humanity to manage. This according to the Foundation was geared towards assisting the Federal Government in its efforts at addressing the increasing problem of housing in the country.
The Executive Secretary of MTNF Mrs. Nonny Nduka-Eze, who handed over the low-cost housing estate to the beneficiaries and to Habitat to run, said the estate will help to make some of the 70 million Nigerians that are tenants or homeless, landlords.
According to Eze, the journey that started in 2006, when MTNF in partnership with Habitat for Humanity (HFH), commenced the construction of 100 housing units of 2 bedrooms each in New Karu, Nasarawa State.
â€œAbuja cities, among other challenges of urbanisation, are beset by acute shortage of decent accommodation, a situation which is compelling many low income earners to live in squalid conditions with their families. As responsible corporate citizen, MTNF decided to contribute to governmentâ€™s efforts by providing low-income earners an opportunity to own homes.â€
She noted, â€œThe cost of building materials of approximately N103 million out of the total investment of N117 million have been converted to loans for the beneficiaries which they are expected to pay back over a period of fifteen years. The repaid funds are expected to be used to provide housing for other beneficiaries in the future.â€
She congratulated the beneficiaries for becoming landlords and commended all MTN customers for making all the telecom giant social responsibility a reality. She said MTNF has 160 projects sites in 33 states.
Earlier in her speech, Economic Empowerment Portfolio Manager, Mrs. Foyinsola Oyebola, said shelter is one of the essential basic needs of man apart from food and clothing. As more and more people move to the urban areas to seek for better living condition, they put pressure on the already existing infrastructures andÂ sometimes live in poor conditions.
â€œThe board of MTNF in recognition of this area of need and in support of the Federal government and the government of Nasarawa State drive to provide better living condition for people, approved the building of 100 housing units consisting of 2 bedrooms each and other infrastructure like good portable water, electricity and good motor able road network within the estate.
National Director, Habitat for Humanity Nigeria, Mr. Ezekiel Ojo, decried the low cost housing units in Nigeria saying most of them are not affordable to middle income earners.
â€œThey are not in anyway affordable. Our two-bedroom unit is about N1.5 million whereas similar products tagged low cost by developerâ€™s ranges from a minimum of N3.5 million to N6 million. The question arises, how many honest civil servants in Nigeria can afford a home of N3.5 million from the meagre salary?â€ he said.