By Chris Ochayi
Worried by the challenge posed by over 22 million housing deficit in the country, the Federal Government, has, weekend, commenced discussions with the Shelter Afrique with a view to abridging the wide gap.
The Minister for State, Works and Housing, Mr Abubakar Aliyu, at a meeting with Mr Andrew Chimphondah, the Managing Director of Shelter Afrique, who paid him a visit in Abuja, expressed concerns over the state of shortfall in housing accommodation in the country.
Mr. Aliyu, therefore, urged Shelter-Afrique to increase loans to interested mortgage Institutions in Nigerian in order to meet the need for the provision of more houses to Nigeria’s teeming population.
The minister was optimistic that Nigeria would meet up with its outstanding financial obligations to Shelter-Afrique in order to deliver innovative and sustainable housing delivery system in Africa.
Pleading the organisation to increase the funds it planned to invest as part of efforts in addressing Nigeria’s housing deficit, the minister added that, “The government was determined to do its part.”
Shelter Afrique, an International Non Governmental Organisation, NGO, has earmarked 181 million dollars credit facility to provide affordable housing for Nigerians over a period of five years.
Aliyu, who commended the institution for its efforts in trying to address the housing deficit in the country, said, “The institution is doing a great job but we need you to do more, the loan you want to invest in the country to address housing deficit should be increased, more employment position should be given to Nigerians because at present, you have only one Nigeria as staff.”
Aliyu said that the country expected to see more changes in terms of opportunities for Nigerians, adding that the government was determined to do its part.
The Minister also called on Shelter-Afrique to employ more Nigerians to serve at the institution in view of Nigeria’s contribution to the organization.
He noted that the number of Nigerian personnel currently in the staff list of Shelter-Afrique was very minute considering Nigeria’s immense contribution to the financial activities of the institute.
He pointed out that the provision of 21 billion US Dollar by the Institution to deliver affordable houses in Nigeria was a commendable gesture to reducing the current housing deficit in Nigeria.
In his remarks earlier, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Shelter-Afrique, Andrew Chimphondah explained that Shelter-Afrique was a pan African finance institution exclusively supporting the development of housing and real estate in Africa.
He added that Nigeria was considered as a country endowed with large population where the project finance, institutional lending, equity finance and social housing thrive successfully, adding that, that informed the need to make the institution active in the Nigerian market.
Chimphondah stressed that the institution was focusing on the introduction of a new strategic plan primarily based on Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the delivery of affordable houses to member countries.
The Managing Director also raised the issue on the payment of Nigeria’s outstanding financial obligation to Shelter- Afrique to facilitate its operations.