By Chukwudi Enekwechi
In this era of public – private partnerships, it is indeed remarkable that the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC in conjunction with the Federal Government is partnering Good Homes Development Co. Ltd in the provision of affordable houses for Nigerian workers. For a start, under the arrangement, the company has commenced the construction of the initial 40,000 housing units for civil servants in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. It is expected that gradually the projects will be spread to the remaining 36 states of the federation.
It is indeed commendable that the NLC has chosen to partner with Good Homes Dev. Co. Ltd, a company reputed for efficiency, timely delivery of projects, and Nigeria’s number one estate developer.
It is also noteworthy that the chairman of the company, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, a former member of the House of Representatives was the first, about 20 ago to pioneer mass housing development in the Federal Capital and other states of the federation under another subsidiary of his – SNECOU Group, Prince & Princess Estates Ltd.
From available designs of the mass housing project they have embarked upon on behalf of Nigerian workers, the estates will serve as one-stop destination for the inhabitants as they will enjoy most needed facilities where they live. For example, there will be provision for recreational facilities, shopping centers, gymnasium, club house, heath centre, police station and power plant.
There is no doubt that these types of architectural designs will serve as an incentive for workers to give their best at work places since their basic needs have been catered for at home. Going by the company’s project mission statement the programme is ‘’a comprehensive housing scheme that will alleviate housing pressures faced by civil servants”. Obviously, this mission statement is attainable considering the company’s skillful work force and tested sub-contractors.
“Good Homes Dev. Co. Ltd is a company with pedigree based on experience”. As their motto goes, the company is truly dedicated to solving the housing needs of Nigerian workers. Additionally, the synergy being created towards the realisation of the project is significant as the NLC, TUC, FCTA, FMBN and Good Homes Company are formidable entities that will ensure that Nigerian workers are provided with decent living accommodation.
Repayment of mortgage
On the financial burden which this arrangement may have on the nation’s civil servants, it is gratifying that such impact has been cushioned with the average worker only required to make a 10 percent down payment of the total cost for his preferred accommodation and a convenient repayment plan is provided, which enables him or her to complete the payment over a 20-25 years period.
In specific terms, the project offers a lifestyle as you have enough facilities such as shopping malls, worship centres, gas station, green areas, playgrounds, hospital, schools and other attractive infrastructure and facilities. Already construction work has reached advanced stage in the first phase at Apo-Tafyi District of Abuja.
It will be recalled that the project was flagged off by President Goodluck Jonathan some months ago and the underpinning principle behind it is to ensure that access to huge capital is not a hindrance to workers who want to own decent houses by providing mortgage facilities at subsidised rates.
The project has tremendous Presidential support as a result of government’s interest in addressing the country’s huge housing deficit which some experts estimate to hover around 60 to 70 percent. While trying to bridge the deficit, the project will also help in creating job openings for numerous unemployed Nigerians..
To demonstrate the Federal government’s commitment to the realisation of the project they will take the responsibility for development of basic infrastructure through the Sure- P intervention funds. Government will also support a number of workers and self-employed to own homes through the first 10,000 mortgage scheme.
In order to ensure that the project is not hampered by unavailability of funds, the Federal Mortgage Bank is to provide construction mortgage finance while they will exit the transaction through the provision of National Housing Fund mortgage finance for qualified contributors, through selected primary mortgage institutions, PMIs.
The company driving the project , Good Homes Development Company Ltd is a reputable consortium of four private real estate companies that came together to form the SPV called Good Homes Company Ltd for the main purpose of delivering 100,000 homes nationwide, in collaboration with the Trade Union Congress and Nigeria Labour Congress for Nigerian workers .
Both NLC and TUC are responsible for the scheme, and they are to use their platforms to ensure that all subsidies and waivers are given to achieve the delivery of affordable homes for Nigerian workers.
The target markets for the project are the federal and state government’s ministries, department, agencies and the self-employed. The beneficiaries only need to have verifiable means of income. To realize the objective, and enable workers access the project from all from all over the country three collection banks were appointed.
Enekwechi is an Abuja based public affairs analyst