The Lagos State government saves N6 billion annually to fund its newly launched Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme, known as Lagos HOMS, aimed at facilitating easy access to affordable housing by residents of the state.
Governor Babatunde Fashola disclosed this while unveiling the scheme in Lagos recently. He said in order to deliver some of the housing projects to kick-start the programme, the state government has been saving N200 million monthly from the internally generated revenue and later increased the saving to N500 million monthly, with a possibility of further increasing the saving.
“I am happy that we took the decision to confront this problem and I hope that the solution we offer today will be the long term solution. Part of the pride I have about this project is that we have not had to borrow money to fund any of these housing units.
Our progress so far is the result of rigorous planning and financial discipline, savings and commitment. These projects have been fully funded from the taxes that our people have paid as monthly internally generated revenue (IGR).
“About 3 years ago, when we took the view that the Lagos State Ministry of Housing on its own cannot deliver all the houses that Lagosians require without the active support and participation of private sector developers, this Scheme was born in my mind.
The next hurdle was how to deliver it. We started saving N200 million monthly, whether the internally generated revenue increased or decreased; and today, we are now saving N500 million monthly, and it is possible to increase this as more people pay their taxes.
“The role of the Ministry of Housing will increasingly be that of a regulatory one, facilitating private sector housing development and enforcing housing regulations, leading research into systems building and cost saving initiatives that increase the affordability of homes and the speed of construction.
Our ultimate plan is to be the guaranteed purchasers to developers who will acquire their own land, build to our specification and to our agreed prices.
This way, many more houses can come on stream because of private sector participation, and Government will use the IGR from tax payers’ money to buy from the developers and sell to the citizens on a 10 year mortgage payment.
“When I signed the Landlord and Tenant Bill into law, I explained that it was the beginning of a housing plan for Lagos. Many commentators who either did not listen to me or did not understand me reasoned that I should have provided houses first. The truth is that there are empty houses. People simply cannot afford them.
While the Tenancy Law represents our moral intervention to protect citizens who earn monthly income from landlords who demand multiple year advance payments, the Lagos HOMS represents our leadership intervention to increase the stock of affordable housing o