In the Nigerian housing market, affordability remains a relative term for too long, but in a new ‘National Affordable Housing Delivery Programme for Nigerian Workers’ that will be taking off almost immediately, a clear definition of affordability has been made to mean ‘low cost’ housing for workers.
With N18,000 minimum wage per month, Nigerian workers are among the poorest wage-earners in the world which explains the inability of majority of them to legitimately buy or build their own houses.
The new housing delivery programme which was launched by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and the Nigerian workers unions comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (NUC), and Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), therefore, seeks to lighten this workers’ burden or, possibly, bring an end to it.
The programme aims to build and deliver decent, safe and quality housing for the workers at a price that they can afford. In line with this goal, the house-types planned for construction under the programme are based on proven social housing models and comprise one-bedroom, two-bedrooms and three-bedroom units with prices ranging from N3.1 million to N8.3 million per unit.
About 100 housing units are to be delivered in the next six months. A groundbreaking event to mark the start of construction activities took place in Nassarawa State on a 5-hectare land along the new Kwandare, Keffi road Lafia. The land was provided by the state government as part of its contribution to the success of the project.
The Nasarawa housing development site is the first of 14 locations under the pilot phase of the programme that is projected to deliver a total of 1,400 housing units nationwide. This includes 200 housing units in each of the six geopolitical zones in addition to Lagos and Abuja.
This means that, all things being equal, in the next 12 months, 1,400 Nigerian workers will be taken away from the property market and considering an average family size of four persons, about 5,600 persons will have decent and quality shelter over their heads.
Besides that, an unquantifiable number of jobs will be created for all the people involved in the housing construction value chain including architects, engineers, estate surveyors and valuers, bricklayers, carpenters, iron-fitters, manufacturers of the various building components , contractors, input suppliers, and even food vendors.
“The launch of the National Housing Delivery Programme is a momentous development because it marks the first time that FMBN and the labour unions have worked closely with experts and industry stakeholders to develop a realistic and acceptable framework for delivering affordable housing to Nigerian workers”, said Ahmed Dangiwa, FMBN’s MD/CEO, at the groundbreaking event.
“The collaborative spirit which this programme has fostered gave room for labour leaders, who understand the realities and financial challenges that Nigerian workers face, to make constructive inputs to the housing designs, pricing range and other relevant conditions for delivering this project”, he added.
The stakeholder involvement and contributions to the project design, the FMBN boss noted, make the new housing programme a fit-for-purpose tool that will deliver houses that workers can afford as part of the overall national efforts towards redressing the huge housing deficit that experts now estimate to be over 22million housing units.
He added that the project was a significant departure from earlier social housing projects, which failed, in part, because they were executed without taking into cognizance the concerns and economic realities of the Nigerian worker.
Ayuba Wabba, NLC president, commended the FMBN for initiating and driving the partnership, noting that the project was laudable and would touch the lives of many Nigerians. He also commended Nasarawa State governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, for providing the land at zero cost and said that state’s workers who would be beneficiaries of the project would be happy and grateful.
Al-Makura expressed delight at the takeoff of the project and thanked FMBN and the labour unions for choosing the state as the first location for the pilot and also for the initiative, assuring of the state government’s commitment to its success. The governor granted FMBN’s request for an additional five hectares of land for the provision of relevant facilities as well as speedy facilitation of electricity supply to the estate.
Under the terms of the programme, the FMBN will provide low-interest housing loans to registered contributors to the National Housing Fund (NHF) to enable them to purchase the houses. Eligible workers whose loan requirements fall below N5 million will not be expected to pay any equity contribution to access the facility while those requiring N5 million – N15 million will have to provide only 10 equity contribution instead of the old requirement regime of 20 percent and 30 percent.
The housing loans have a convenient payment plan with tenors of up 30 years depending on the age of the beneficiaries and years in service. Other states and locations scheduled for groundbreaking for the project include Kogi, Enugu, Abia and Akwa Ibom for October 11, 15, 16, and 18 respectively.
Source: Chuka Uroko