By YINKA KOLAWOLE
President Goodluck Jonathan said the Federal Government and State governments are working on how to reduce the current high cost of property transactions by lowering fees charged for consent and registration.
Jonathan disclosed this while declaring open the 3rd ASO National Exhibition & Conference last week at the International Conference Centre in Abuja. He also promised to ensure the reduction of stamp duties and other charges by the governments that prevent property transactions from contributing to the nation’s gross domestic product. The conference is hosted annually by ASO Savings and Loans Plc, one of the leading primary mortgage banks in Nigeria.
The President, who was represented by Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Ama Pepple, said he was confident that the reduction in property transaction fees and several other viable housing and urban renewal initiatives would move the government “closer towards realising the vision of facilitating the development of one million new homes, every year, for the next 10 years”. He declared that the federal government was towards a rapid growth in the nation’s housing stock through the regeneration of a durable mortgage industry.
“The government is committed to recapitalising the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and strengthening the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development as well as the Federal Housing Authority. All other institutions of government in the building environment will be similarly reviewed,” he stated.
Jonathan said government is ready to collaborate with operators in the private sector, such as ASO Savings and Loans and other stakeholders to meet a target of delivering a minimum of 500,000 affordable housing units for the nation’s lower and middle income earners by 2016. “With the national housing deficit presently estimated at 12 to 16 million units, our administration recognises the significant role the private sector can play in bridging the requirement gap.”
He said the theme of the conference, “Achieving Affordable Housing Delivery by Creating 500,000 Housing Units by 2016,” was timely, explaining that the provision of affordable mass housing was a priority of his administration. According to him, government has already approved both the National Housing Policy and the National Urban Development Policy as the coordinating frameworks for an appropriate response to the challenges in the sector.
“The private sector is well placed to meet the needs of the zero-income, low income, lower-medium income and the informal sector workers, and by so doing, also facilitate job creation. I would like to emphasise that we will continue our policy of engaging the private sector to play a more dominant role in this sector.”
In his welcoming address, Managing Director of ASO Savings & Loans, Mr. Hassan Musa Usman, said the housing exhibition had become one of the biggest and most important events in the nation’s housing industry. He said it is the companyfs contribution to efforts aimed at reducing the nationfs current housing deficit and to also assist Nigerians own homes. “The conference provides a platform to discuss housing and proffer solutions to issues and challenges bordering provision of housing in the country.”