The Federal Government has announced plans to launch a dedicated web portal for the sale of buildings to Nigerians in the next few weeks.
The platform is expected to help contributors to the National Housing Fund (NHF) access mortgage loans on a first-come, first-serve basis.
This disclosure was made by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola while speaking at the ninth meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development in Jos, Plateau State.
Fashola, who was represented by the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu, pointed out that the ministry is currently at the completion stages of the first phase of the national housing programme in 34 states of the federation, which provided land for it.
He said, “We urge the state governments to alert their residents to this opportunity for interested persons to apply.”
Fashola commended the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) for being at the forefront of the cooperative housing initiative at the federal level, adding that it has the advantage of allowing cooperative members to choose what they design and build to fit their budgets.
They can leverage their members to get group discount for the purchase of building materials as well as the engagement of contractors.
Fashola disclosed that FMBN as the driver of the housing initiative has engaged 86 co-operatives in projects; approved N35, 784 billion cumulatively; disbursed N10.95 billion; and processed as at January, 57 co-operative housing development loans.
Fashola emphasized that what the Federal Government can do directly in housing is limited compared to what states can do, just as state governments are also limited, compared to what the private sector and individuals can do.
He said, “The majority of houses available for sale or rent belong to individuals and private companies compared to what states or Federal Government has available. Therefore, many of the tenants who owe rent, who face eviction or who seek to rent or buy property are dealing with private citizens or companies and less so with government agencies.’’
My recommendation for improving access and affordability to housing in the Covid-19 era is for private companies and individuals to give back some of what they control to citizens in the way the Federal Government has given back to citizens some of what it controls.’’
He explained, “for example in cases where the rent of businesses or individuals are due for renewal, the private landlords can give back, by accepting monthly, quarterly or half-yearly rent instead of one year, two or three years rent in advance.”
Nigeria has been bedevilled by a housing crisis that has left Africa’s most populous nation ill-equipped to properly provide accommodation for its citizens and inhabitants.
Some of the housing problems in the country include unresolved rent tenure arrangements, high cost of building materials, access to infrastructure, deficiency of housing finance arrangements, stringent loan conditions from mortgage banks, time to process legal documents and inadequate government housing policies.