Housing experts have identified low income as the major reason why public servants cannot access the housing mortgage funds aimed at addressing the housing needs of workers.
Mr Bassey Ekpeyong, the Chairman of the 2nd Nigeria Housing Finance Conference said this during the opening of the conference on Tuesday in Abuja.
The conference is organised by the Nigeria Integrated Social Housing Cooperative Society Limited (NISH) titled: “Innovative Financing of Affordable Housing”.
He said that the mortgage system had refused to lend itself to the public servants because of the low wages received by the supposed beneficiaries.
He noted that the housing sector and its delivery had been one of the most serious problems government had been facing over the years.
According to him, NISH is a private sector initiative established to assist government in addressing the enormous housing deficit bedeviling the country.
“In the 80s, government tried to accommodate its staff by building houses and give to their staff then deduct the money from their salaries but as years went by, it became obvious the model could not be sustained.
“Then monetisation of government houses was introduced, yet it didn’t solve the problem; the Federal Integrated Staff Housing Scheme (NISH) was introduce but government akin cannot solve this problem,” he said.
Ekepyong urged participants to free their minds and be frank in proffering solutions to the housing needs and why it was not possible to access mortgage for those who needed it.
Mr Yemi Adelakun, the Managing Director, NISH said that the programme was a private sector initiative driven by passion to complement government’s effort to provide affordable housing for Nigerians on a large scale at minimal cost.
He said that the conference would X-ray the housing financing system and examine innovative ways for providing houses that would be adopted and adapted to by Nigerians.
Adelakun said that lack of access to credit facility was also the major challenge hindering off takers from owning houses, stating that housing was a basic human necessity that government must provide for its citizens.
He added that housing development must be tailored according to the needs of off takers to ensure that houses built by developers were affordable and occupied.
Mrs Folashade Yemi-Esan, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources said that the housing needs of Nigeria was enormous and must be addressed.
She noted that the conference was a step in the right direction, adding that every civil servant and citizen must have a roof over his or her head.
The Managing Director, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Ahmed Dangiwa assured FISH of its support to ensure affordable houses were delivered to Nigerians.
Dangiwa, who was represented by Oladapo Fakeye, the Group Head, Strategy, FMBN, said that the bank was committed to every effort aimed at addressing the housing deficit in the country.
Source: Uzoma Okafor