By Olasunkanmi Akoni
The Federal Government has disclosed plans to embark on a mass affordable housing scheme that will see it construct not less than 54,000 housing units across the country.
Minister of Housing, Lands and Urban Development, Mr. Nduese Essien, who disclosed this yesterday during a courtesy call on Governor, Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, said it was part of the efforts to address the huge housing deficit which has left some Nigerians living in sub-standard structures.
He said the private institutions would provide the fund while the government will provide land.
Essien said to actualise the plan, the Federal Government intends to work closely with state governments for land acquisition across the states.Â A total of 500 housing units, he said will be constructed in each senatorial district of the 36 states bringing the number to be built to 54,000.
These will comprise low-cost and medium-cost units and will benefit low_income earners who may have the opportunity of buying a two-bedroom flat for instance at the rate of N2 million as against. Most two-bedroom flats are being constructed by private developers especially in highly urbanized cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja.
Essien also disclosed that under the planned housing scheme, individual buyers will have the opportunity of staggering their payment plan over a period of 15 years, adding that the idea is to make acquisition of the housing units less stressful and simple.
This, he said simply means that it is not going to cash and carry as being the case with most housing units being built by some state governments and private developers.
He however, commended the Lagos State government for the identification of Federal Government lands in Lagos, saying this will facilitate the success of the planned scheme in Lagos State.
Responding, however, Governor Fashola observed that construction of housing though necessary, the Federal Government must look beyond just building houses to formulating enduring and sustainable housing policy for the country so as to address the deficit holistically.
He lamented that the failure and inability of successive administrations to develop a sustainable housing policy for the country has made it a lot difficult to address the housing needs of Nigerians especially the low_income bracket who lacked the financial wherewithal to pay cash to acquire houses.
Against this background, Fashola tasked the Federal to create the environment that will encourage active participation of mortgages in housing acquisition.