Providing affordable housing through private sector partnership needs to be embraced, if government is to achieve its housing objectives.
Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure Ime Okon, said this on Monday, while speaking on Channels TV ‘Business Morning’, monitored by Housing News.
She said the National Housing Program and the Family Homes Fund which was created to provide social housing for people in the low-income bracket, are some of the initiatives government has implemented to confront the housing challenge, but noted that private sector partnership is needed.
She said, ‘’we have always emphasised the fact that this initiatives are not really sustainable if we don’t have the private sector partnering with us to achieve most of the targets we have set for ourselves in the housing sector’’.
Speaking further she said ‘’we want the private sector to partner, and we are very excited when the private sector come to us with different kinds of ideas, and we try to encourage such ideas to come forth, because the housing divide issue cannot be solve with just the government implementing her own initiatives. So more ideas from the private sector are welcome’’.
She said it is necessary to take all government initiatives, ideas and proposals to the next level, so that the ordinary man who earns as little as N30, 000, can own houses, she noted that there are a lot of houses that the private sector is building, that are out of the reach of the common man but government hopes to see the trend reversing, so it is imperative for government to partner with the private sector.
On the areas the private sector needs the government to intervene and the guarantees, she said.
‘’We can’t be the market, we are typically enablers, and we have to have policies on ground that will enable easy access to land, in order to bring down some of the cost components of the construction, so we have interrogated some of the things that the private sector has told us, and in the past we have tried to implement some of them.
what we’ve now decided to do is to have a steering committee at the top level, that will be chaired by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, and we will have the key stakeholders to sit with us to be able to interrogate some of these ideas and find ways of engaging the state Governors’’.
She stated further that ‘’we have already engaged the State Governors on the issue of land through the National Economic Council’’.
On foreclosure laws she said ‘’the foreclosure law is very important in terms of bringing the private sector into the housing sector, because if you invest in a sector, you should have some confidence that you can recover your money, so the foreclosure law is extremely important for us.
We have forerunner states like Kaduna State and Lagos state, essentially engaging us to be able to implement the foreclosure law. So the private sector has seen the commitment of the government that is why they keep coming to partner with us’’. She added.
SOURCE: Affa Dickson Acho
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