By Tochukwu Maxwell
Zvecan Consulting and Engineering Limited has entered into a partnership with the Federal Government and a Chinese firm, Wengfu (Group) Company Limited to build 5,000 housing unit under the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme.
Speaking at an Affordable Housing Summit in Abuja, yesterday, Managing Director of Zvecan Consulting, Mr. Nicholas Ogbedo, said the project would be financed by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and would be located at Apo, Kubwa and Mpape districts in Abuja.
He stated that the company, who had already commenced the construction of some of the housing units, had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) for the offtake of the apartments when completed.
He lamented that presently, a large population of low and middle income earners live squatters/semi-planned settlements, commuting for hours daily to and from the city centre daily with attendant stress on top of environmental hazards.
He noted that utilities, facilities and basic amenities are very limited in these settlements where the low and middle income earners live, despite the fact that the rent paid is comparatively very exorbitant.
He said, “The so-called ‘mass Housing Policy’ within the city that offered large acreage on development lease agreement terms have not yielded affordable mass housing stocks. Furthermore, the quality of infrastructure is very poor, costs are very high, quality of the little produced is nothing to talk about. Indeed the success of the policy has been limited.
“The real low-income earners have tremendous challenges in procuring loan; National Housing Fund (NHF) is the only single digit loan available in the market. Its conditionalities are many and liquidity base is very limited. To pay even the equity contribution, processing, Primary Mortgage Institution, PMI, and other charges are a herculean task.”
One of the Chinese investors in the project, Mr. Zhang Wei, said China and Nigeria are very good partners in the project which is the reason why the summit was holding.
He stated that for the project to be successful, the Federal Government had to step in to provide key infrastructure, like constructing the roads to the site, noting that this would help the developers to reduce the price for the citizens and make the houses affordable.
He said, “China has been in this situation before and now they are almost in the fifth generation so they have enough experience to help the current situation in Nigeria and they have come to invest in the development of Nigeria.”
Also speaking Mr. Jin Changsheng, a Director in the Wengfu Group, said, “The company has executed project around China and we have won government recognition and the people are satisfied with all our concluded project.
“We have worked in so many countries and places like Angola and all the project was successful because their government played a vital role. For this project to work successful in Nigeria, the Government needs to come and assist the investors to make it affordable for the citizens.”