By Yinka Kolawole
IN its quest to bridge the housing deficit in Nigeria, the Federal Government has solicited the support of China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund) to finance housing development in the country.
Head of Service of the Federation (HoS), Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, made the plea when an eight-man delegation of CADFund paid her a courtesy visit in Abuja. She said that with 87, 000 federal civil servants, Nigeria had the huge market potential in terms of population, capacity and human resources.
She noted that Chinese companies are already operating in Nigeria’s rail sector and other areas of the economy, which should give China the assurance that her investment is secure in the country, especially so because China will be dealing directly with the government.
Oyo-Ita specifically sought CADFund’s assistance in the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme of the Federal Government, which she said is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the office of the Head of Service, private developers and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN). She noted that funding is the major challenge in the provision of accommodation in Nigeria.
According to her, the Federal Government takes seriously infrastructural development and soft loans for civil servants on a single digit interest rate basis since accessing loan from commercial banks had remained high risk. She assured the Chinese delegation of recouping their investment from the FISH programme.
Chairman of CADFund, Mr. Chi Jianxin, said the visit of the delegation to the country was to discuss ways of intervening in the housing deficit in Nigeria and how to make housing more affordable to Nigerians. “We will like to reduce the cost of owning houses by introducing more Chinese entrepreneurs to come and invest in construction materials,” he said.
China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund) is a private equity and venture capital investment arm of China Development Bank specialising in expansion stage, mature stage and buyout investments.