By Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja
The Federal Government has kicked off its low cost housing programme with the Nigeria Police Force.
The police are to benefit 2,000 from the planned 300,000 units of low cost houses planned across the country.
The initiative under the National Social Housing Programme (NSHP) is coordinated by Family Homes Fund (FHF).
Speaking at the media launch of the sample home and information portal, the Managing Director, Nigeria Police Force Development and Construction Company Limited (NPFDC), Kemi Olomola-Sijuwade, expressed concern over the country’s housing gap.
Omolola-Sijuwade stressed that with Nigeria’s population presently over 200 million and estimated to hit 263 million by 2038, the housing deficit problem in the country demands emergency attention and response by all relevant stakeholders in the industry.
She explained that “Nigeria has an estimated housing deficit between 16 million and 22 million, and to bridge it, we would need to build a minimum of 700,000 to 1 million housing units every year for probably a decade whereas, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria presently builds an average of only 100,000 housing units per year, and only a few working-class Nigerians can afford to buy one. This ought not to be so.”
Explaining the key ways to increase demand for housing in Nigeria, she said “it is through availability of funds to enable ordinary Nigerians, the average income earner, to own a home at minimal cost as against the current prevalent model where intending home buyers have to save up and make full cash down payments.
“And the way to achieve this is by providing massive and affordable access to mortgage facilities over prolonged tenures. If this is achieved and sufficient awareness is created, like what is being done here today with this event, I am convinced that we would see increasing demand for housing in Nigeria.
“With growing demands owing to availability and access to affordable housing funds, supply will grow as more developers and other stakeholders will confidently invest in the sector knowing that their returns are guaranteed.
“Moreover, this will orchestrate a ripple effect on the economy at large as more jobs will be created and other sectors like manufacturing, insurance and transportation will be bolstered, and construction will take its rightful place in contributing significantly to the National GDP beyond its meagre average of 7% in recent years – thus emulating the sector’s contribution to most developed economies around the world like the USA and Australia.
Olomola-Sijuwade said she was pleased with the launch of the portal as it excellently aligns with the vision and mission of the Nigeria Police Force Property Development and Construction Company Limited.
“As a company, it is our collective drive to see affordable housing being developed and provided to the men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force as well as the general public, and our daily work is geared towards achieving this goal on an ongoing and sustainable basis.
“I am particularly very pleased by this occasion of launching the National Social Housing Programme, being implemented by the Family Homes Funds and targeting to construct 300,000 housing units across the country.
“With initiatives and commitments like this, we can all begin to see a ray of hope rising in the horizon towards addressing this unwelcome menace in our country.
“And the Nigeria Police Force Property Development and Construction Company Limited cannot be happier for the opportunity of being a major developer-partner in this laudable initiative.”
Also speaking, the Managing Director, Family Homes Funds, Femi Adewole, said the Social Housing Programme was absolutely committed to lifting a fraction of Nigeria’s population out of poverty.
The programme is aimed at delivering affordable housing and millions of jobs for Nigerians.
He said: “Today we are doing two things. Firstly, we are launching the online platform which will power the National Social Housing Programme, connecting the actual building of the homes to beneficiaries, the army of young builders and construction workers we hope to raise through the programme and finally local manufacturers of building materials.
“Secondly, we will be introducing you to the sample homes we have built, each costing N1.4m and N1.8m for the 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom units respectively. As these are just samples, they exclude financing and infrastructure costs.
Emphasising how poverty has deprived Nigerians from proper housing, Adewale said: “The BoS 2019 Poverty and Equality report indicated that 40.1 per cent of our total population were classified as poor. In other words, on the average, 4 out of 10 individuals in Nigeria have real per capital expenditures below N137,430 per year.
“This translates to over 82.9 million Nigerians who are considered poor by national standards. According to the BoS, 18% of these (about 15 million) live in urban areas,” he said.