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Lagos plots roadmap for affordable housing

The Lagos State government is exploring modalities that will facilitate provision of affordable housing, especially  for low income earners in the state, through mortgage facilities.

Commissioner for Housing, Mr. Dele Onabokun, who disclosed this recently, remarked that arrangement being made in this regard will be made public before the end of this month. He noted that plan is the least the government could do to assist low income earners to own houses in the state.

“To ensure low income earners have access to decent accommodation, government is considering payment options that will allow allotees to make a token down-payment and spread the outstanding for a period of 10 years. The ministries of Housing, Finance and Justice are working on the necessary modalities for the payment formula. The new scheme will be unfolded in the next few weeks,” he said.

The Lagos State government had already taken some steps aimed at boosting the housing stock in the state. The measures include a partnership arrangement reached with some banks to float a N40 billion mortgage scheme in the state, which has however been retarded by the current imbroglio in the banking sector.

The state government also sponsored the Lagos Tenancy Tenancy Bill 2009 to the House of Assembly in May 2009 to stop landlords from collecting advance payment for house rent, as well as introduced a Lagos Mortgage bill to establish a mortgage board to regulate mortgage issues in the state. All in a bid to make housing more accessible for the average Lagosian.

Speaking in a similar vein recently, in Lagos, the Senate President, David Mark, recently in Lagos called for appropriate policies that would enable government provide houses for the poor under a social housing scheme.

Speaking at the commissioning of an estate developed under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative between Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and Locke International Limited, Mark said that a delicate balance must be forged between meeting the tough demands of the money market where it sources its funding and the needs of the poor.

“If we must make progress in the direction of providing housing for all our people, then of course we must strengthen and liberalize the mortgage sector. The advantage is that many of those living in rental houses today would still pay as much as they are paying as rent with the only difference that they would be paying towards the eventual ownership of their houses,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State government is proposing a N60 billion alternative route to link Ishawo to Ikorodu in order to de-congest the daily traffic gridlock in the area, a move that is expected to increase the real estate potential along the Ikorodu axis

Director General, Lagos State PPP Office, Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi, said that the proposed project is under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programme of the state government and is expected to be built in four phases.

Managing Director, FHA, Mr. Terver Gemade, also called for support of the Fashola administration in its plans to get FHA back to work on all sites earlier acquired for the National Housing Programme and in the provision of titles for various sites.

“We recognise that a great percentage of our populace are low income earners who cannot muster the required funds to pick up houses on the shelf’, so to say. In a bid to offer a window for house ownership to such people, we have come up with cooperative housing as a new do-it-yourself delivery model. Over the past few years, we have registered housing cooperatives across the country,” he stated.


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