By Timi Gabriel
It was an interesting experience to physically walk through reasonable living spaces built in Nigeria for less than N3m. What is more interesting is that it has happened in the depressed Nigerian economy, it was built with direct local labour in Nasarawa state and 90% of the input was locally produced in Nigeria. In effect, we have here a made in Nigeria home built by Nigerians for Nigerians.
It had running water, power and built in a gated housing estate, with security and estate management. The roads where not tarred but graded. There were two maybe three playing fields for kids, various touches of what would make a comfortable, secured estate of 270 affordable homes for Nigerians. I had to continuously remind myself that these units were available for less than N3m and mortgages were available for willing buyers.
It was recently confirmed that both the Honourable Ministers for Finance and her counterpart in Works, Power & Housing have both visited the site and met with the team that delivered these homes.
It is not impossible to build one hundred thousand of these homes across Nigeria every year for the next 10 years. That is a million of these homes built across the nation. Ponder a scenario of 36 locations, each building 3,000 homes a year each for ten years. This will require each state to identify suitable land in each local government and get the development team to put programmes in place for these estates to be built.
Welcome the Family Homes Fund, a financing initiative by the Ministry of Finance, funding affordable homes for Nigerians, focused on a Made in Nigeria approach! Now that every country is claiming back their identity and turning away from a globalised economy; (Brexit (UK), Brexit Plus Plus (USA)), perhaps the elements are aligned for a housing evolution in Nigeria.
An opportunity for internal growth stimulus, employment for the masses, and ultimately Nigerians owning their own affordable homes. We can only just pray that the initiative comes to life and affordable homes become available.