By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA: An expert in the Built Industry and President, Housing Development Advocacy Network, Barr. Festus Adebayo has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to split the Power, Works and Housing ministry for effective service delivery, saying his administration would make no meaningful impact if Nigerians do not get value for money in the three critical sub-sectors.
At an agenda-setting news conference for the second term of the president in Abuja, Mr Adebayo said merging the three ministries was a mistake, the consequence of which he said is reflected in Nigeria’s increasing housing deficit as well as the under-performance of the administration in the areas of power, works and housing.
“President Muhammadu Buhari must as a matter of urgency split the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing. The merger is not working. Where is the power? The need to separate the Ministry of Housing from Power cannot be over-emphasized so that there can be a focus, a high level of concentration, to solve at the ‘Next Level’, the problem of power. President Buhari must use housing to drive the economy. That should be his concentration in this second term”, he counselled.
He however lauded recent efforts of government to bridge housing deficit especially with the introduction of the Family Housing Funds FHF, an interventionist policy of the Buhari administration aimed at addressing the housing problems of low income earners.
According to him, the scheme which is still in its infancy has already delivered 700 housing units in Masaka, Nasarawa state, just few kilometres from Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Adebayo stressed: “The take off of Family Homes Fund is something that is very recent but within its first six months, FHF has successfully financed a project in Masaka, Nasarawa state. They call it LOV 1, LOV 2 and each of them has 350 units. Meaning 700 houses have already been delivered.
The highest cost of the house is N4.5 million, meaning the one bedroom is within the range of N2 million, 2bedroom N2.5 million, 3bedroom 3.5 million. You only pay 50 per cent and the other 50 per cent will be acquired through mortgage.
“Apart from the one in Masaka, Family Homes Fund is already building in Kano, Lagos, Kaduna, Delta, Ogun and about 13 states. It is established to have presence in all six geo-political zones plus Abuja. The only good thing I have seen in Buhari’s government is Family Homes Fund,” he said.
Adebayo explained further that while the FHF is not to compete with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria FMBN or other agencies in the sector, he noted that what the estate developers could not do was what the FHF had come to do.
“The difference between the National Housing Programmes where the Minister has been building houses in all the states of the federation and family homes fund is affordability. It is not on ground to duplicate what thr FMBN is doing but to complement it. The area that FMBN cannot reach, then, the Family Homes Fund comes in,” Adebayo said.
He called for political will on the part of the Buhari administration in order to tackle housing deficit in the country, noting that the political will would bring strong implementation that would arrest the issue of housing deficit.
“Political will is what made the government to say do not give loans of agriculture on double-digit interest rate, an order from CBN to all commercial banks. So, if the government of Nigeria has the political will, the CBN will come up with a policy that will direct banks to give a certain percentage of loan for housing and it must not go beyond one digit interest rate.”