.Sanwo-Olu

Undoubtedly, accommodation deficit is a challenge associated with all urban cities in the world. The situation in Lagos, though not peculiar is however challenging because of the population growth rate of the state is estimated at over 25 million people. The massive migration of people from all over the federation to Lagos State places great pressure on the available housing facilities.

Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, MAF, who is the Commissioner for Housing, while giving insights into the achievements of the present administration led by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the mandate handed out to the ministry is to deliver affordable homes to Lagos residents. Assistant News Editor, Olasunkanmi Akoni, reports.

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said the goal of his administration is to provide affordable housing for residents of the state, noting that for the state to maintain its reputation as the real estate investment hub of Nigeria, the sector needs to regain and sustain investors.

Besides the provision of affordable shelters, the housing sector could also be used to stimulate the economic growth of the state which is the nerve centre of the nation’s economy.

“The ultimate goal of my administration is to make the real estate sector attractive to investors and provide decent and affordable shelter on a sustainable basis for all Lagosians,” Sanwo-Olu had assured.

From the 360 housing units commissioned at the Igando LagosHOMS, now Lateef Jakande Housing Estate, at Igando Local Council Development Area, LCDA two years ago, to the newly inaugurated accommodation scheme in Ibeshe, Sanwo-Olu has boosted Lagos’s housing assets by 7,000 units.

With affordable housing which has eluded the teeming population in the state, to date, a total of 17 schemes have been completed, thus adding over 7,000 affordable housing units to the sector.

In fulfilment of his avowed intent to make life better for residents as promised in his inaugural speech, Sanwo-Olu continued to set the pace in providing affordable shelters by embarking on completion of inherited abandoned housing estates and taking it further to deliver new schemes across the state in record time.

The provision of more housing facilities in urban, suburban and rural areas is part of his administration’s T.H.E.M.E.S agenda, which falls under the SIX developmental agenda pillar, M-making Lagos a 21st-century economy.

From 360 units at the Lateef Jakande Housing Estates in Igando to 360 units in Igbogbo, Ikorodu; 252 housing units in Idale, Badagry; 84 home units LagosHoms, Lekki; 2,132 units at the BRF Housing Estate, Iponri, Surulere; and 120 units at Courtland Villas, Igbokushu, Lekki, these houses have been delivered in various schemes across the state to the admiration of all residents in the last two and half years.

With various housing schemes already completed and ready for habitation such as: Odo Onosa Ayandelu, Agbowa, Magodo/Omole, Gbagada and Ibeshe, Sanwo-Olu is set to commission about 660 housing units of 1 2 3 LagosHoms at Odo-Onosa Ayandelu in Ikosi-Ejirin LCDA, and Agbowa resettlement scheme 114, 1 and 2 flats by the end of this month, January.

Not resting on his oars, a modern residential estate, 480 housing units of LagosHOMS at Ibeshe was recently inaugurated to the well-being of the good people of the state.

It is instructive to note that the current administration has created 17,000 direct jobs and 18,000 indirect jobs through the construction work in various housing schemes across the state.

According to Sanwo-Olu, the various housing projects have direct economic engagements for consultants, contractors and artisans in the state.

While unveiling another set of 480 homes delivered through direct budgetary allocation, the governor, maintained that a decent home has a ripple effect on other areas of life by adding meaning and essence to living, adding that it was in acknowledgement of the fact that his administration considered housing development to be a priority on its agenda.

Shedding more lights on his administration efforts so far, Sanwo-Olu stated: “I wish to say that in the past two and half years, we have been earnestly addressing the huge housing deficit in the state. It is important to note that the gap in supply and demand of homes is not peculiar to Lagos State.

“In order to cope with the accommodation deficit, the state government regards it as a duty to keep on building more homes to take care of the increasing housing needs of its residents. About five weeks ago, we inaugurated an Estate of 100 homes constructed through a joint venture in Lekki. Today, we are here again to release another set of 480 homes delivered through direct budgetary allocation.

“In utilizing these two strategies of partnership with the private sector and budgetary allocation, we have been able to deliver 13 major housing schemes all over the state.

“We are still counting because we are still at work in a number of housing construction sites all over the state. Apart from those already inaugurated, three schemes are virtually ready and awaiting inauguration at Sangotedo, Odo-Onosa Ayandelu, and Agbowa,” he said.

Akinderu-Fatai, fondly called, MAF, while speaking with Vanguard recently, stressed that the present administration will continue to create enabling environments for the sector to thrive while also expanding other initiatives aimed at ensuring that new homes are built or constructed, delivered and people have quality, sustainable places to live.

He said, “There are other ongoing housing projects, totalling 21 schemes, which are being developed through budgetary allocation and joint ventures.” Akinderu-Fatai added that by the current momentum, the administration of Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat would have delivered 35 housing schemes to further close the huge deficit in the sector by the end of 2023.

Speaking on efforts being made by the administration to address the housing deficit Akinderu-Fatai, added that to achieve the onerous task, the administration is engaging multinationals along with other MDAs to build and support the financing of buildings in the state, saying the option is viable given the fact that land is a limited resource in Lagos.

According to Akinderu-Fatai, various initiatives by the government to stem the state’s housing deficit are being geared towards the maximization of scarce land through the construction of high-rise buildings. The commissioner also said that all the LagosHoms have the same facilities irrespective of their locations, adding that Igando homes have the same facilities as the ones located in Iponri and other areas in the state, hence, no basis for scampering for a particular scheme butt explained that their prices varies due to location.

In addition to the ongoing housing projects, he added that the state government is also making progress in discussions with some international organisations that would soon embark on mass housing delivery in the state, assuring that more state housing schemes will be delivered to the people before the end of the first term of the administration adding that are specifically for the benefit of low and middle-income earners to enhance affordability.

Despite the current inflationary trend in the country with determination to make housing affordable, Akinderu-Fatai said that Lagos is subsidizing the cost of homes while the government has bought some of the ones built by private firms to sell to residents at rock bottom prices.

The commissioner attributed the success achieved so far in housing delivery in the state on the governor, who he said has continued to display determination and unusual resilience in the provision of the housing schemes.

Experts speak on way out

Meanwhile, in order to increase activities and stimulate growth in the housing/real estate sector in 2022, professionals have come out with various suggestions on what could be done to improve the industry and enhance homeownership among Nigerians.

Managing Director, Fonahanmi Idris & Associate, Mr Fonahanmi Idris, noted that to enhance homeownership among Nigerians in 2022, Idris said the government must provide enabling environment and support for alternative building materials.

In addition, he urged the authorities to provide primary infrastructure and import subsidies via duty/Value Added Tax (VAT) exemption/reduction to encourage investors/private developers.

According to him, the central authority must support housing finance institutions via recapitalisation of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), adding that it must support housing developers via concessionary loans at reasonable pricing and also offer support to beneficiaries via multiple housing products (i.e. rent to own, renovation, mortgage upgrade, etc.)

“Government must make ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) – Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Security Exchange Commission (SEC), Family Home Fund (FHF), Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) and Pension – work positively for the housing sector benefits,” Idis said, suggesting that the Primary Mortgage Bank should be strengthened.

Another expert, Harmony, said there would be a need for the development of related and support regulations, standards and guidelines with the appropriate authority for approvals and wide publications.

Besides, he explained that there would be a need for the understanding of mass housing / affordable housing projects’ funding requirements from international providers (United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Shelter, CDC UK, International Finance Corporation (IFC)) and providing the private developers the necessary guarantees to enable the release of funds for housing projects.

“Such funding organisations can sponsor housing projects from 500,000 units to above one million units on a project with a developer and multiple in one country at interest rate usually below six per cent,” he said, urging the Federal Government to provide the relevant support for this instead of depleting the CBN to fund housing projects.

On areas that needed improvement, the affordable housing expert said it was high time to be developing and publishing a database for approved building technologies in Nigeria.

Also, two experts, who identified themselves simply as Harmony and Ebony on the social media platform of the Housing Development Advocacy Network (HDAN), stated there would be a need for the development of related and support regulations, standards and guidelines with the appropriate authority for approvals and wide publications.

Besides, he explained that there would be a need for the understanding of mass housing / affordable housing projects’ funding requirements from international providers (United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Shelter, CDC UK, International Finance Corporation (IFC)) and providing the private developers the necessary guarantees to enable the release of funds for housing projects.

“Such funding organisations can sponsor housing projects from 500,000 units to above one million units on a project with a developer and multiple in one country at an interest rate usually below six per cent,” he said, urging the Federal Government to provide the relevant support for this instead of depleting the CBN to fund housing projects.

On areas that needed improvement, the affordable housing expert said it was high time to be developing and publishing a database for approved building technologies in Nigeria.

Harmony urged the Federal and State governments to focus on providing infrastructure to support housing projects as being done in other countries.

According to him, it should not be the responsibility of the private sector or developers to build roads provide drinking water and provide electricity to the citizens in their various housing projects.

Funds for such infrastructure, the expert said, could also be tapped from tax credits related to the housing construction projects to reduce delay time in the government’s approval of budgets.

Going by the above submissions by relevant authorities and stakeholders, there are many opportunities in the housing sector to grow the economy if the necessary incentives are in place with all hands on deck.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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