By Jude Njoku

ROCK of Ages Properties Limited, a subsidiary of Chicason Group, in collaboration with Trade Union Congress, (the umbrella body for senior public and private sector workers in the country), will on Thursday in Abuja, flag off the construction of 20,000 housing units under the United Workers Housing Scheme. The scheme is targeted at building 100,000 units of affordable housing in all the 36 states and Abuja.

The flag-off ceremony which is expected to be graced by FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed and his Labour counterpart, Chief Emeka Nwogu, will hold at Women Development Centre in the FCT.

Disclosing these facts to newsmen last weekend, the Executive Director of Chicason Group, Mr Chux Adike explained that the public private partnership, PPP scheme would provide affordable housing across the country for the benefit of senior public and private sectors.  Adike explained that the two sites selected to flag off the scheme in Abuja are located along Airport Road, very close to AMAC estate in Lugbe and Deidei.

The Airport Road site measuring over 600 hectares is about seven minutes drive to the city gate while the over 300 hectares site at Deidei is about 12 minutes drive to Maitama. Adike described the estates as a kind of social housing schemes because the government is providing the land at very subsidised rates while long-term mortgage loans would be given to the subscribers.

“The interesting thing about the project is that apart from us as the private developers and the Trade Union Congress which is the umbrella body for senior staff in both public and private sectors, other  agencies in both public and private sectors like the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, FMBN, the Nigeria Mortgage Refinancing Company and the Primary Mortgage firms are queuing into the project.

The dynamics of the project is that the house types range from two-bedroom semi-detached  bungalows to two-bedroom apartment block, three bedroom detached bungalows, three bedroom semi-detached bungalows, three bedroom apartment block, three bedroom terrace houses, four bedroom terrace apartment and four-bedroom semi-detached houses. The buildings will be tastefully finished. ” he said.

Prominent facilities to be provided in the gated estates include centralised water supply system, tarred roads, walkways and drainage channels, ample parking spaces, street lights, schools, recreation facilities, power supply and markets.

On what the subscribers stand to gain from the scheme, Mr Adike said the land has been subsidised by the government hence the value of each house is less than what obtains in the property market today. “For a contributor to the National Housing Fund, NFH and who also has a retirement savings account, that is, he is a pensions fund contributor, all he need to do is to pick up our application form for N10,000, fulfil the application formalities and we do our verifications and give him a provisional offer which would require him to pay just between 10 and 20 percent of the cost of the house depending on the house type.

If the cost of the house is 18 million Naira, because land has been subsidised, the price may come down to N9 million. He (subscriber) will pay 10 percent, that is 900,000 Naira which is less than the annual rent he pays in a good satellite town, not even in the city as annual rent, to own an apartment for life. On subscription, we group them into batches and the mortgage banks will now package the mortgages.

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