The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has explained that it plans to unveil a dedicated web portal for the sale of buildings to Nigerians in the next few weeks.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who spoke at the ninth meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development in Jos, Plateau State, stated that the platform would enable contributors to the National Housing Fund (NHF) access mortgage loans on a first come, first serve basis.
He said 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.
“We urge the state governments to alert their residents to this opportunity for interested persons to apply,” he said.
Fashola told Council to consider cooperative housing as part of their discourse and recommendations for affordability and accessibility to housing in the country.
He commended Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) for driving the cooperative housing initiative at the federal level, adding that it is advantageous because cooperative members can choose what they design and build to fit their budgets.
They can leverage their members to get group discount for purchase of building materials as well as 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; processed as at January 57 co-operative housing development loans.
Fashola, who was represented by the Minister of State, Abubaker Aliyu, stressed that what the Federal Government can do directly in housing is limited compared to what states can do, state governments are also limited, compared to what private sector and individuals can do.
“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,” he added.
The minister urged private developers and individuals, who build houses for commercial gains, to ease off the cost, which they control to enable Nigerians afford homes in this COVID-19 era.
“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 said.
He explained, for example in cases where 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.
Fashola noted that the Federal and state governments have limited parts to play in the area of provision of affordable housing to Nigerians because houses for sale and rent are mostly built by individuals and private companies compared to that of the Federal Government.