By Chris Ochayi
Disturbed by the huge housing deficit confronting the country, the federal government at the weekend commenced talks with Shelter Afrique, with a view to abridging this gap.
The Minister of State for Works and Housing, 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 shortfall in housing provision in Nigeria.
The Minister therefore, urged Shelter-Afrique to increase loans to interested mortgage institutions in Nigeria in order to meet the need for the provision of more houses to Nigeria’s teeming population, pointing out that he was optimistic that Nigeria would meet up with its outstanding financial obligations to Shelter-Afrique in order to deliver innovative and sustainable housing in Africa.
Appealing to the organisation to increase the funds it plans to invest as part of efforts in addressing Nigeria’s housing deficit, the minister said “The government is determined to do its part.”
Shelter Afrique, the only pan-African finance institution exclusively supporting the development of housing and real estate sector in Africa, 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 funds you want to invest in the country to address housing deficit should be increased, more Nigerians should be given employment because at present, you have only one Nigeria as staff”.
Aliyu added that the country was expecting to see more changes in terms of opportunities for Nigerians, stressing that the government was determined to do its part.
He noted that the number of Nigerian personnel currently in the organisation as staff was very minute considering Nigeria’s immense contribution to the financial activities of the institutition.
He pointed out that the provision of 21 billion US dollars by the institution to deliver affordable housing in Nigeria was a commendable gesture to reducing the current housing deficit in the country.
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 housing to member countries.
The Managing Director also raised the issue of the payment of Nigeria’s outstanding financial obligation to Shelter- Afrique to facilitate its operations.