By YINKA KOLAWOLE
… Targets 2013 Q1 for HOMS take-off
Lagos State government has expended close to N20 billion in the construction of housing projects across the state in the outgoing year 2012, even as it targets first quarter of 2013 for the take-off of the state mortgage scheme.
Commissioner for Housing, Mr. Bosun Jeje, disclosed this while reviewing activities of his ministry within the year. He said that the housing projects are in furtherance of the planned Lagos State Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (Lagos HOMS).
According to Jeje, the housing projects that will ensure a smooth take-off of the Lagos HOMS scheme are in various stages of development. He said the scheme, which was designed to provide affordable houses for residents of the state who are potential first-time home owners, is expected to take off in the first quarter of 2013. “Right now, we are addressing the supply side of the housing; that is why we have not gone fully out to start allocation. But at the level we are now, we have addressed the supply side with so many estates coming on board, and we can now start,” he said.
The commissioner asasured that the process of allocating the houses would be transparent, adding that only those who need the houses would benefit. He reiterated Governor Fashola’s promise that all categories of working class would have access to housing through the scheme, noting that the scheme was designed to assist prospective first-time house owners have access to mortgage facilities, especially civil servants and others in paid employment.
Jeje said there are three new major housing projects going on in different parts of Lagos metropolis. These are blocks of luxury flats at Parkview Ikoyi, Massionatte duplex at Ikeja and Gbagada Housing Schemes. He also said that the Lagos HOMS projects are sited across the six divisions in Lagos, including places like Ilupeju, Sangotedo, Mushin, Masha, Ikeja GRA, Igando Oloja amongst others.
The Ilupeju project comprising of 10 blocks of one, two and three bedroom flats with each block containing 12 flats, and designed to house 120 families is almost completed. The project in Mushin containing five blocks of 12 flats each is designed to house 60 households, while the project in Ikeja GRA consisting of 76 flats is expected to accommodate 76 households.
In Sangotedo, 600 units of different house types are ongoing, while 492 housing units are ongoing in Igando Oloja, in Ibeju LCDA. The Igando estate consists of 41 blocks of 12 flats of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom flats, with functional infrastructure like a mini-water treatment plant, a central sewage treatment plant. He noted that the design envisioned a co-habitation amongst the would-be owners, hence, the design of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom flats.
In addition to the direct intervention by government to boost housing stock in the state, Jeje also stressed that that the private sector had a key role to play. “While the government is doing what it can do, we are also creating an enabling environment for private investors to invest in housing. So, if you come to the Ministry of Housing, we have a Public-Private Participation department, even at the Governor’s Office, we have a PPP department as well; that is the extent we have taken it; that the government cannot do it alone.
“What the government is doing now is just a stop-gap measure. Eventually, the private sector will have to take over and continue with the project. But right now, we cannot leave it as it is and wait for the private sector alone; that is why the government has taken it up,” he stated.
The commissioner said government will soon come up with the modalities on how Lagosians can be part of the scheme. “We have not yet decided on the modalities for implementing the scheme. We are yet to decide whether people should come to the office to collect forms or they should fill the forms online. All these gaps are what we are working on right now and as soon as we’re done we will go public,” he assured.