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Realising Affordable Housing for Workers in Nigeria

The emerging climate of reform at the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) is necessary, timely and commendable. The results in terms of increased access to affordable housing loans, reduced turnaround time for processing applications for mortgage loans and better delivery of FMBN funded housing projects give hope for a new era of affordable housing delivery for Nigerian workers. Marks of high-performance dot key aspects of the bank’s operations.

Take the distinctly historic number of housing loans to Nigerian workers that the bank has processed in the past 22 months.

Recent statistics from the bank show that between April 2017 to February 2019, the FMBN processed and disbursed 21,741 housing loans totaling N55billion. This represents an average of over N25billion worth of housing loan disbursements per year.

To better grasp the historic significance of this achievement, consider that from 1992 – April 2017, before the new management came on board, the FMBN had only disbursed a total of N152billion to 19.671 beneficiaries – averaging N6.3bn per year! The difference is massive.

Equally noteworthy is the dramatic increase in the speed of handling applications for refund of National Housing Fund (NHF) contributions to by workers who have retired from service. Within this same period, statistics reveal that the bank has treated a total of 116,560 refund cases totalling N15.7 billion. As at April 2017, when the new management took over, only 132,605 cases totalling N10.5billion were treated in the over two decades of the bank’s history.

This positive trajectory of high performance and responsiveness at the FMBN is evidence of a new leadership dynamic. Notably, it demonstrates that the new FMBN management understands the urgent need to improve service delivery and is committed to increasing access by Nigerian workers to its suite of affordable housing solutions. Secondly, it shows the bank’s respect for the humanity of the Nigerian worker by ensuring that workers, who have contributed dutifully to the NHF fund, have quick access to their contributions soon as they leave service and apply for their funds.

The emerging positive indices of deepening access to mortgage loans demonstrates the inherent potential of the FMBN to play a leading role in government’s efforts to sustainably tackle the problem of affordable social housing delivery to Nigerian workers. It’s potency as an effective housing policy tool also underscores the need for housing industry stakeholders, the public and well-meaning Nigerians to support ongoing efforts to bolster and strengthen the capacity of the FMBN for greater and more expansive impact.

Despite challenges, which can be corrected, the FMBN remains Nigerian workers’ most affordable route to owning a home. For instance, workers who contribute to the National Housing Fund (NHF) that the bank manages, can access housing loans of up to N15million at best market rates of between six per cent and nine per cent and pay back over tenors of up to 30 years.

The new FMBN management has also reduced requirement for equity contributions to lessen the financial burden on workers. For loans under N5 million workers do not need to pay any equity contribution while for loans ranging from N5 million and N15 million, only 10 per cent is required.

Clearly, the FMBN housing loan offer stands out when compared to those on offer by commercial banks, who typically charge interest rates of up to N25 per cent for tenors of less than 15 years in addition to very stiff requirements and collateral. This strengthens the case for it as a more potent tool for driving affordable housing delivery with a focus on the Nigerian worker.

In the last quarter of 2018, the FMBN as part of efforts to ensure greater value for workers who contribute to the NHF scheme, commenced work on the National Affordable Housing Delivery Program for Nigerian workers. The program – to build and deliver decent, safe and quality housing for Nigerian workers at a price that they can afford – is a collaboration with the labor union including the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Assembly (NECA) was launched nationwide.

Under the pilot phase of the project, about 1,400 housing units in a mix of one bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units are planned for construction and delivery at fourteen sites nationwide. 200 housing units are to be built in each of the six geopolitical zones with 100 units in two selected states while Abuja and Lagos are to be treated as special sites. The house types designed for construction under the program are based on proven social housing models with prices ranging from N3.1M to N8.3 million.

Recently, the FMBN Management team led by Arc. Ahmed M. Dangiwa commenced an inspection and assessment tour of the project sites to monitor construction progress and quality of work done. The management team visited the five hectare project site in Nasarawa State along the new Kwandare, Keffi road Lafia and noted with satisfaction the pace of construction work by the developer at the site.

“The quality of work and it’s impressive. We have made few observations and drawn the attention of the developer to make necessary corrections within time.  We have also noted that the developer is within completion period. However, we are urging him to deliver within the next 30 days so that we can commission this project so that off takers can start enjoying the houses,” Dangiwa observed.

The FMBN Management team also visited the 100-housing unit project site in Lokoja, Kogi State where it also noted that the contractor is on schedule to deliver the project as planned.

In his remarks after the project site tour, the FMBN MD/CEO was quoted to have said: “With the level of progress that we have seen from the developer, we are optimistic that the project will be ready for commissioning next month as scheduled. The developer has almost finished most of the internal work, the tiling, the ceiling, electrical and plumbing work for over 80 of the houses, the remaining ones are being roofed now.

He has also commenced the infrastructure. The drainage has already been constructed, the roads have been levelled, and ready to receive MC1 and asphalt. The electrical aspect is already in place, the tank, the water reticulation is already done, and he has sunk two boreholes with a good yield to serve the entire estate. In a nutshell we are highly impressed”

With the reported progress at the sites visited, there are many reasons to believe that this affordable social housing project will succeed and not become yet another abandoned national project.

The first reason is the availability of funds to ensure project delivery as well as selection and mobilisation of competent developers. The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria has leveraged its pool of funds from the National Housing Fund to finance the construction work and delivery of the project. The bank has already mobilized reputable indigenous developers with the capacity to deliver to start work. The rapid and simultaneous construction activities at the pilot sites of the project nationwide inspire hope for the speedy delivery of the projects within the 6-months timeframe as planned.

The second reason is the active involvement of the labour unions in the design of the program. The participation of leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association in the development of the framework for delivering the project made it possible for them to make constructive inputs to the housing designs, selling prices and conditions for delivering the project. This has given them a strong sense of ownership of the project, a critical factor for its success.

It is also heart-warming that a plan is in place to ensure that once the houses are built and delivered, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria will provide mortgage loans through selected Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) to Nigerian workers that contribute to the National Housing Fund (NHF) to enable them to purchase the houses and repay over a maximum period of 30 years.

Unarguably, the past 22 months have revealed a strikingly new commitment by the management of the FMBN to the bank’s mandate and the urgency of reforming the mortgage institution so it can have greater and more expansive impact. The Arc. Dangiwa-led management has taken bold actions and posted impressive performance results to prove their capacity to deliver. For a stronger FMBN, it is imperative that housing industry stakeholders and the public rally in support of their efforts to reform and reposition the FMBN as a key institutional tool for tackling the country’s housing crisis.

Terungwa Isaac

FG plans new strategies to tackle housing deficit

The Federal Government has restated its readiness to address housing deficit in the country through the introduction of new services designed to assist low-income earners and pensioners.

The Deputy General Manager, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Sunday Ogunmuyiwa, stated this in Osogbo, Osun State, at a day seminar organised by the bank to sensitise the state and private sector employees to the need to join the scheme.

He said the FMBN had introduced a couple of new services to underscore its readiness to make houses available and affordable to more Nigerians.

“The services are individual construction loan, home renovation loan, rent-to-own loan scheme and Cooperative Housing Development Loan, among others. The National Housing Fund Mortgage Loan is still very much active and available to contributors,” Ogunmuyiwa said.

He assured the people that the bank would ensure that retirees, contributing to the NHF scheme, would get their refunds processed within three months of application.

In his remarks, Osun State Coordinator of the FMBN, Arowolo Babatunde, lamented that accessing long-time credit facility for home acquisition or development of personal homes had been a great challenge among low-income earners in the country.

He blamed the situation on the cost of land, challenges associated with land-grabbers and housing boom due to the high demand created by a rising population.

He appealed to the Osun State Government to further reduce the cost of obtaining titles so as to facilitate the creation of more mortgage facilities in the state.

Source: By Bola Bamigbola

Why Nigeria Should Start Looking into Eco-friendly Housing

As the effects of climate change are felt across the world and with the construction industry responsible for as much as 40 percent of man-made carbon emissions, both governments and individuals are beginning to take the task of building eco-friendly houses much more seriously.

Fuelled by increased demand, a new industry of eco-friendly home building has grown up and a whole host of technological innovations have created an arsenal of eco-friendly building materials and techniques. From wind turbines, to solar panels, to high efficiency lighting, ultra efficient insulation, glazing, water conservation, plumbing, recycling and much more.

With nearly 200 million people, Nigeria has a huge housing deficit of about 17 million units, and environmentally friendly building is a low priority. There is an even greater shortage of affordable housing for low-income earners.

Many experts in the industry believe that it will be a great opportunity for Nigeria to reduce its housing gap by looking into affordable and environmentally safe housing models. Its cost effectiveness and eco-friendliness should according to experts, be a motivation factor for Nigeria to start considering this viable option


What Eco-friendly Housing Means

The term “eco-friendly” literally means “not environmentally harmful” according to Merriam-Webster, and its first known use was in 1989; although the term “environmentally friendly” is older, dating back to 1971. Most commonly used when referring to products that contribute to green living and other sustainable practices, eco-friendly products also prevent pollution in the land, air and water.

An Eco-house (or eco-home) is an environmentally low-impact home designed and built using materials and technology that reduces its carbon footprint and lowers its energy needs.


An eco-house could include some or all of the following: Higher than normal levels of thermal insulation, Better than normal airtightness, Good levels of daylight, Passive solar orientation — glazing oriented south for light and heat, Thermal mass to absorb that solar heat, Minimum north-facing glazing — to reduce heat loss, Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) system, Heating from renewable resources (such as solar, heat pump or biomass), Photovoltaic panels, small wind turbine or electricity from a ‘green’ supplier, Natural materials — avoidance of PVCu and other plastics, Rainwater harvesting, Greywater collection, Composting toilet, Glass that has two or three layers with a vacuum in between to prevent heat loss; (double or triple-glazed windows), Solar panels or wind turbines, Geothermal heating and growing plants on the roof to regulate temperature, quieten the house, and to produce oxygen, A vegetable patch outside the house for some food.

The concept of an eco-house means a dwelling that has a low impact on the environment.

Why Eco-friendly Houses are Important

The principle behind eco-friendly building is to create structures that are safe with little or no impact on the environment or the occupants’ health. As the Environmental Protection Agency notes, this involves:
Ensuring occupant health: A house is not just a structure that protects us from the elements, it is a space where people spend most of their lives at home or work. So it is necessary that houses do not harm the occupants in any way.


Efficient use of resources: Given the over-exploitation of resources and considering that many are non-renewable, it is necessary to use them efficiently. This is especially true for fossil fuels, mined metals and even for renewable materials like wood which take a long time to grow.

Preventing pollution and environmental degradation: Production of the building materials, the construction process, the energy used during occupancy, and disposal of construction waste at the end of a building’s life should not pollute or create hazardous waste.

Energy Efficiency and Alternative Energy: The ideal green home can be planned and designed to be energy efficient. Passive solar design ensures that all the aspects of the house work to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat or cool it. Furthermore, alternative energy sources can be used during occupancy to reduce carbon emissions. Other simple measures to help energy efficiency and save energy include fitting eco-friendly light bulbs, buying Energy Star electrical appliances and ensuring that heaters have thermostats attached. Use of light and heating can be limited only to rooms that are being used.

Water Conservation: Water is an important resource and one that often gets overlooked. Being more aware of water usage is an essential part in running a green home. Low flow toilets and front loading washing machines are both interesting alternatives. Low water landscapes instead of grass lawns can be attractive, fun and colorful, as Home Designed Inspired shows. They also require less maintenance making them more interesting. Rainwater harvesting systems can collect rain from roofs and concrete paths in the garden and help to reduce water demand.

These aims have to be kept in mind while planning, sourcing materials, designing house-plans, construction and during occupancy. The principles have application in renovating old houses and constructing new eco-friendly or green buildings as they are also called. However, it is new construction projects that have the opportunity to maximize benefit from all aspects of the process.

Nigeria and Eco-friendly Housing

Up until now, there hasn’t been a major government policy on building eco-friendly homes in Nigeria, safe for the limited private sector investments in that area.

According to the Co-founder of Ecobuild Nigeria, Olubayo John, the use of Ecobeam system enables them to deliver quality green houses at up to 40% less than it would cost using sandcrete blocks and cement mortar, the most predominant building system in Nigeria at the moment.

According to him, eco-friendly homes are very important because there are ideas for every kind of budget.


‘’Whether you’re building a new house or remodelling an old one, you have plenty of options for building that incorporate environmentally-friendly options. Advice from green builders can be a valuable asset to capitalize on benefits from eco-friendly houses,’’ he said.

This is clearly an area that stakeholders should intimate the government to look into, given that the cost of building eco-friendly houses are even cost effective compared to the traditional types. It will save cost and help the country adapt to climate change at the same time.

But hopes are not lost as it will dominate one of the discussions at the upcoming 13th Abuja International Housing Show from 23rd to 26th July this year. According to the event’s convener, Bar. Festus Adebayo, there will be panels on eco-friendly housing and related issues spearheaded by the World bank, GIZ and other interested stakeholders. The resolutions from these panels, especially because it will also be attended by government officials can begin a new era for housing access in Nigeria.

By Felix Ojonugbwa

Housing associations are the key to building more homes

Residential development companies borne out of housing associations are pioneering a model many have called for

When Sajid Javid presented his White Paper, “Fixing our broken housing market”, to parliament in February 2017 he recognised that the very structure of the housing market makes it harder to increase supply. In particular, he made the point that a handful of very large private sector companies were responsible for around 60% of all new private homes.

Although not in itself a bad thing in terms of economy of scale the very model that they, without exception, operate – a single-trader, mono-tenure model – fundamentally acts as a barrier to significantly increasing supply. Oliver Letwin in his “Independent review of build out” succinctly points out that a housebuilder’s business model relies on a build-out rate that is dictated by a local absorption rate that will not impact on market price (were it to do so their model would be fundamentally flawed), therefore this tends to slow down rather than speed up build-out rates.

A single-trader, mono-tenure model – fundamentally acts as a barrier to significantly increasing supply

The conclusion of Letwin was to say that if major housebuilders (or others) were to offer housing of more varying types, design and tenures the overall absorption rate could be substantially increased. These different tenure groups will potentially have a two-fold impact on the value of the land as well as the margin return. Both of which would significantly change the business model of the housebuilder.

Trying to adjust land values to recognise a more blended tenure mix is not a short-term fix, without specific planning intervention. Landowners will be loth to take a writedown in land value based on a proposition that chooses to provide a more balanced approach to product and tenure. Only a change in planning policy is likely to convince them of their new land value.

Trying to adjust land values to recognise a more blended tenure mix is not a short-term fix, without specific planning intervention

Rental and intermediate tenures, if weighted too much into the development, will not provide the housebuilder with the return that has become expected by the City. It could be argued that for them the risk associated with these predominantly pre-sold products is vastly diminished, however, the housebuilders are reluctant to accept this, particularly at a time when resource – both management and trade – is scarce and they are looking to maximise return from this limitation.

This provides a context to a residential sector that has struggled to increase significantly the amount of housing over the last few decades.

Residential development companies borne out of housing associations predominantly look to deliver a much more blended product and tenure range

I believe however that the fundamental structural change that Sajid Javid refers to and which Oliver Letwin defaults to is actually happening at pace. Not through the traditional housebuilder but through the new breed of residential development companies borne out of housing associations. The structural change builds from the growing influence and impact of these companies on residential development and delivery:

  • Their models predominantly look to deliver a much more blended product and tenure range, typically 50% affordable, 25% intermediate and 25% open market
  • They have longer-term business plans that can react to changing market conditions
  • A substantial amount of their build programme is counter-cyclical
  • They have patient money that looks for returns over a much longer period than the housebuilder model
  • They do not answer to the City and therefore are not pushed into counterintuitive actions
  • The returns and surpluses they make are pumped back into housing and not lost to shareholders
  • They have a long-term financial and social interest in the assets that they are creating which encourages investment in a different way; and finally,
  • The government can channel funding through these bodies without fear that it ends up as big bonus pay-outs for private sector bosses (see the recent furore around Jeff Fairburn at Persimmon).

All of these things are structurally changing the residential sector, which is likely to accelerate as these organisations gain more scale and maturity.

In addition, we are seeing the impact that these new development organisations are having on the collaborative working environment and the engagement models. Their need to attract private sector skills has created the need for joint ventures and a totally different way for the strategic residential players to engage with each other. The sharing of skills, knowledge, resource and return has been a revelation for the sector, driving a significantly new delivery environment.

The sharing of skills, knowledge, resource and return has been a revelation for the sector, driving a significantly new delivery environment

The White Paper highlighted the poor performance in construction productivity over the last 25 years, 11% improvement against the general economy improvement of 40%. It has long been recognised that construction is a very inefficient sector requiring significant investment in research and development if it is to improve. Again, in areas such as modern methods of construction the traditional housebuilder model has been a barrier, a constraint on the innovative thinking and more importantly investment required to drive this initiative forward.

These new development organisations, supported by the government, do have the model, the will and necessary financial headroom to pioneer the big ideas around smart homes and provide, yet again, another major strand to the structural change that Sajid envisaged.

Source: By Richard Jones, Housing Today.

NCRIB Urges Govt To Be Proactive In Implementation Of Building Laws

Worried by the spate of building collapses in Lagos and Oyo States, the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), has urged the three tiers of government to be proactive in the implementation of building laws. The President of the council, Mr Shola Tinubu, made the call on Tuesday at the quarterly media parley in Lagos.

The two states had earlier witnesses building collapse in March. A building, which housed a school, collapsed at Massey Street, Ita-Faji, on Lagos Island, with no fewer than 20 deaths recorded. Barely 72 hours after that tragic incident, another building collapsed in Ibadan. According to Tinubu, the council is well touched by the incessant collapsed of buildings. He called on the governments to give more impetus to the enforcement of compulsory building insurance as enshrined in Section 64 and Section 65 of Insurance Act 2003.

Tinubu said the council believed that the unfortunate incidences were actually accentuated by the lax of regulatory enforcement agency in the construction environment. He urged governments to continually engage the stakeholders in the construction environment, while related institutions should elicit their inputs for a long lasting solution to the malaise.

The council president, while commiserating with the victims of the building collapses, advised Nigerians, on their own, to insure their personal assets. “The insurance will mitigate the losses when losses of this dimension do occur. “Every individual should ideally live up to his responsibility of care by protecting whatever is valuable to him or her, both life and property “Our slogan has been: “Whatever is Worth Having, is Worth Insuring,” he said. (NAN)

Worried by the spate of building collapses in Lagos and Oyo States, the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), has urged the three tiers of government to be proactive in the implementation of building laws. The President of the council, Mr Shola Tinubu, made the call on Tuesday at the quarterly media parley in Lagos.

The two states had earlier witnesses building collapse in March. A building, which housed a school, collapsed at Massey Street, Ita-Faji, on Lagos Island, with no fewer than 20 deaths recorded. Barely 72 hours after that tragic incident, another building collapsed in Ibadan.

According to Tinubu, the council is well touched by the incessant collapsed of buildings. He called on the governments to give more impetus to the enforcement of compulsory building insurance as enshrined in Section 64 and Section 65 of Insurance Act 2003.

Tinubu said the council believed that the unfortunate incidences were actually accentuated by the lax of regulatory enforcement agency in the construction environment.

He urged governments to continually engage the stakeholders in the construction environment, while related institutions should elicit their inputs for a long lasting solution to the malaise.

The council president, while commiserating with the victims of the building collapses, advised Nigerians, on their own, to insure their personal assets.

“The insurance will mitigate the losses when losses of this dimension do occur. “Every individual should ideally live up to his responsibility of care by protecting whatever is valuable to him or her, both life and property “Our slogan has been: “Whatever is Worth Having, is Worth Insuring,” he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Family Homes Fund’s Delta Housing Project Ready In December

Family Homes Fund is set to make dreams come true for many Nigerians, especially low income earners who are going to benefit from its various housing projects across the country, some of which will be ready soon. The project which is expected to help the Federal and state governments provide over 17 million new homes needed by the country over the next 15 years is already yielding great results.

According to Family Homes Funds, many brand new homes will be ready in December this year in various states across the country’s six geopolitical zones. The categories of the homes ranges from one bedroom to three bedroom bungalows with complete facilities needed in any functional home.

The current stage of work in Delta according to the project leaders is at 70%, which proves that the December projection is very feasible and anticipated.


About Family Homes Fund

The Family Homes Fund Limited is a partnership between the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority as founding shareholders with aim to address the country’s housing deficit.

family homes

The initiative is aimed at facilitating affordable housing delivery by entering into specific partnerships with supportive State Governments, developers and International partners/agencies that can provide technical support and financing for project implementation.

The Fund is structured as a Real Estate Investment Trust and will be professionally managed to catalyse funds from the private sector, pension funds, insurance funds, multilateral agencies and impact investors.

Family Homes Fund has voted N1 trillion for affordable housing for Nigerians by 2023. The scheme also targets 1.5 million new jobs to boost families’ well-being. It will be the largest affordable housing-focused fund in Sub-Sahara Africa, according to report from the fund managers.

The scheme will be leveraging its capital to facilitate access to affordable housing for millions of Nigerians on low-to-medium income levels.

Through strategic partnerships with various players in the sector and some of the world’s main Development Finance Institutions it has an ambitious commitment to facilitate the building of 500,000 new homes by 2023.

According to the scheme promoters, the fund places priority on how it can take advantage of the opportunity a large- scale house building programme offers to create jobs for the people with low income, to bring about sustainability, improved quality of life, security and hope for beneficiary families.


“With a projected cumulative spend of up to N1 trillion by 2023 into various inputs into the house building process including doors, windows, tiles, roofing materials, blocks, paving stones, paint among others there is opportunity to incubate large numbers of SME small scale industries creating significant employment,” it said.

“The Family Homes Fund aims to catalyse the creation of new jobs through the investments we make. Alongside investment by other players in the housing sector, we have a real opportunity to achieve impact. Real positive impact on families, women who often carry the biggest burden in poor households and young people. At a national level, this potential effectively harnessed could generate up to 1.5 per cent increase to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2023,” it said.

Besides, the Fund aims to support ongoing dialogue around development of a local contents framework for inputs into the house building process. A long-term objective is to ensure that up to 80 per cent of manufactured inputs are locally produced.

Cheap and Invaluable Asset for Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries of the project will enjoy a deferred loan for up to 40% of the cost of their home. For the first 5 years of the loan, no payments need to be made. From the 6th year, monthly payments will be made to start repaying both interest and capital to assist the purchaser. The amount paid starts low and increases each year in gradual steps (average 6.5% per annum) in order for the HTB loan to be fully repaid by the 20th year, the same year the mortgage is expected to be fully repaid.

Creating New Jobs

Ongoing investments are already making a real difference with over 13,000 jobs created and about 360,000 to be created from current development pipeline. The Grand Luvu Project alone in  Nasarawa State created about 8000 jobs.

Many young people, especially those who were previously unemployed have been able to obtain training on the Funds Grand Luvu project, acquire valuable skills with guaranteed long-term employment and income to support their families. Same goes for the unskilled unemployed youths who depend on their family until they were employed as masons or carpenters on the project sites.

family homes

In Kaduna, the Millennium City project has directly engaged slightly over 200 persons which includes local artisans including carpenters and brick layers. The construction need for accountants, surveyors, engineers, etc. has created a lot of jobs since commencement.

According to officials of the fund “Our focus is to create homes that people, particularly those on low income can afford but beyond that, ensure that we provide opportunity for them to earn decent wages consistently through our investment in these projects.

“We have spent the last year building very strong foundations for a major take off and now we should start seeing the results in affordable homes and jobs for local people.”

On partnerships, the scheme is building strong partnerships with broad institutions and agencies to maximise this opportunity. The fund is equipping a new generation of young Nigerians with high-level skills in modern methods of construction and technologies.

Through a combination of these activities, the Family Homes Fund aims to create or support up to 1.5million jobs by 2023 making a real difference to the quality of life of their families and the economy.

By Felix Ojonugwa

5 million Housing Scheme to be Launched by Pakistan

Dubai: Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to launch on Wednesday his dream project of building 5 million low cost houses for the less-fortunate people in the country.

Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry told reporters in Islamabad on Tuesday that Prime Minister Imran would launch the first phase of Apna Ghar (our home) Housing Scheme on Wednesday in Islamabad.

“The first phase will see the construction of 135,000 houses across the country,” he said.

A dedicated authority called the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme (NPHP) has already been created to manage the project under direct supervision of the Prime Minister.

The first phase will include launching of construction work for houses in Islamabad and Balochistan.

During his election campaign, Imran had promised to build five million housing units to overcome the shortage of affordable housing in the country. The housing scheme will largely be involving the private sector.

“There are 40 industries directly involved with housing. By inviting the private sector into this project we are opening the doors of entrepreneurship for young people,” said Imran.

He said that though constructing five million houses is an enormous task but once initiated, the number of houses being constructed will be increased with each passing year. The project will be carried out in phases.

Housing Finance

The Pakistan government will provide 90 per cent housing finance to deserving people as part of Imran’s flagship project of five million houses in the country.

Last month, Imran already launched a low-cost finance scheme to kick-start the housing project for the poor.

The project, he said, would also help boost economic activities through the creation of jobs and promote 40 industries connected to construction sector.

Imran said earlier that a huge segment of Pakistan’s population is cash-starved and could not afford to build houses, and that’s why the government is stepping in to help.

Housing units costing less than Rs3 million (Dh80,000) would be funded under the scheme. The banks would provide loan up to Rs2.7 million — 90 per cent of the total amount — under the scheme.

The banks and other financial institutions are being incentivised to extend loans for the scheme.

Special segments

Special segments, including widows, orphans, transgenders, martyrs’ families and people living in war-against-terror hit areas would be given priority under the house financing scheme.

The new housing units could neither be rented out nor sold by the owners. The low-cost financing would be made available to at least 100,000 housing units at the mark-up rate of 5 per cent for 12.5 years.

Currently, Pakistan has a backlog of 10 million housing units and bank financing is a must to achieve the target of constructing five-million low-cost houses.

Ashfaq Ahmed

Kenya’s 1.5% Housing Levy Sparks Anger

There has been an angry response in Kenya to a decision by the authorities to introduce a new salary levy to help build low-cost homes.

From next month, employees will pay 1.5% of their pay to the housing fund and that amount will be matched by the employer.

The anger stems from suspicion that the extra money could be lost through corruption, correspondents say.

The government aims to build 500,000 affordable homes by 2022.

The total monthly payment per person will not exceed $50 (£38), but it is hoped that $500m will be raised every year.

The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) says the move to introduce the levy is against a court order, which suspended its introduction pending a hearing on the FKE’s objection.

A trade union umbrella body has also opposed the money-raising move.

Is it a tax?

President Uhuru Kenyatta wants his second term in office, which began in November 2017, to be defined by what he has called the big four: universal healthcare, improving food security, boosting manufacturing and building affordable housing,

The housing levy has been called a tax but at the end of last year Mr Kenyatta said “this is not about tax as it has been made to look, but a saving and a contribution towards owning a house”, the Star newspaper quoted him as saying.

One consumer rights organisation questioned whether people should be forced to pay the levy, adding in a tweet that the “government has no history of successfully managing any ‘fund'”.

Many on Twitter questioned where the money would go, with the suggestion that the government tackle corruption first.

Others questioned how they could afford the levy while also facing a rise in the cost of living

Source: BBC

Exploring Ways to End Homelessness

Maybe it was the rash of recent news on people becoming homeless, or maybe it was seeing people obviously homeless and camping in their cars or drifting around town that got to me. Maybe it was seeing that worn, young bag lady walking to nowhere special, a droopy bag of belongings tossed over her shoulder.

Or maybe it was the TV spot of a father moved to tears as he expressed his gratitude to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for getting his family into an affordable small home, something he never thought would happen.

Not one, but the combination of triggers worked on me along with the emotionally-charged fact that I, myself, had faced the fact of becoming homeless not once, but twice. I lay sleepless.


Images played unbidden on the inner screen of my mind — not only of the various types of dwellings human beings have developed in various cultures around the world and through time, but the humans that developed and built those differing habitats themselves.


• Caves: The first safe dwellings, to be sure. I recalled reading “Clan of the Cave Bear” and suffering along with Ayla, who didn’t fit with her rescuers in the monkey-like tribe. Also, my first visit walking into the gaping maw of the Ha‘ena dry cave, which I later learned sheltered the first Kauai fishermen who came from other parts of the island to camp in now-hidden upper chambers within it. My mind skipped on to the Maha‘ulepu “cave” when I first saw it after ducking through a dark entry tunnel with a skull-bonking protrusion to be avoided at all costs, and before the special archaeological digs and protections now in place. There were my more recent memories of the amazing, ancient sandstone clefts of Jordan’s Petra, both manmade and naturally formed.

• Castles: These are part of every person’s inner kid imaginings, whether “fairy” or Disney-style imaginings, or defined by ramparts and knights of old, such as my oldest son played with (a Sears Christmas gift) for countless hours.

• Sumptuous tents of Araby: Inner visions bloomed of sumptuous Persian carpets, skinny minarets and silken draperies — Ali Baba-type settings.

• Indian “daks” or godowns: Small, roughly constructed dwellings to which servants retired to eat and sleep from the bungalows of my youth.

• Igloos: I wondered as a school kid how anyone slept on an ice-shelf bed, furry robes or not. And how did the Eskimos cut those great blocks of ice and manage to sculpt them to fit into a curved shape?

• Stilt homes: All through Asia, these protect from flooding, insects and wild animals. Their sloped roofs channel off the rain.

• Yurts: My fifth-grade Junior Scholastic implied that the lives of Mongolian nomads centered around a home fashioned of hides and poles. How did the mothers feel about pulling up stakes to move so often, and how did they find time to embroider and fashion the prayer cloth hangings?

• Teepees, wigwams, hogans: I held the same questions for the North American tribes, and when did their girls and women get any privacy, and how did they store their beading and hide-sewing supplies without plastic boxes and compartmental “keepers”?

• Hale: Visualizing the thatched dwellings of Polynesian cultures. I once said such would be my dream house — if it were situated with a view of the ocean on golden sand under coconut palms (AND allowed me to hook up to a modem and Wi-Fi!). Now, after experiencing recent heavy, driving rains in “paradise” and remembering Hurricane ‘Iniki, I’ve rethought that idea.

The house a human calls home becomes part of that individual’s foundation, leading to the impact of the phrase “home, sweet home.” There comes a point in a life when backpacking and caravanning end, where one decides to plant one’s self and perhaps some trees and vegetables, and create a safe haven in which to raise a family.


Toddlers show the importance of home in some of their first drawings when, in our culture, the stick figures identified as mommy and daddy and self are shown with a dominant house. Sometimes this house has a door and windows; sometimes, a chimney and/or flowers. No matter the variations, the house looms, showing its importance as “home.” To be homeless erodes this foundational feeling of stability.

So, whether it’s an igloo, hut, hovel or mansion, or underground “oasis” house of Coober Pedy, Australia, or a rondavel of Lesotho, South Africa, what matters is that one may call it home.

Homelessness on our island is not just about people who are down and out, people who may or may not choose to enter another level of society. Responsible people who do work hard and earn decent wages are going homeless.

The crisis at hand centers on not having enough truly affordable home properties and rentals available to our full-time residents. It’s a fact that Kauai people cannot easily find affordable housing, that the inflated housing costs and jacked-up rents are causing even good earners to join the ranks of the homeless.

It’s dishonest to permit and label dwellings “affordable” that are, in fact, not so, or fall out of that category back to market price within 10 years. It’s not enough to discount permitting costs for home additions.

Dawn Fraser Kawahara


Why Low Income Earners Miss Out on Mortgages and Home Ownership

A major requirement for getting a mortgage loan facility that will enable the borrower to own a home is having a good job with regular income. But it becomes very challenging when the earning is low.

At N18,000 per month minimum wage, public sector workers cannot afford mortgage loan. Even with the yet to be implemented new minimum wage of N30,000, this class of people will not still be able to afford mortgage loan.

Therefore, for many years to come, unless a drastic change occurs, homeownership through mortgage loan, will continue to elude workers who earn the national minimum wage.

This is because, based on the terms of mortgage structuring which requires not less than one third or 33.3 percent of this N30,000 per month, the borrower has to deduct approximately N10,000  for loan repayment,  and a monthly payment of this sum for 30 years as required by the mortgage law, will mean that the prospective home owner will contribute the sum of N3 million for the 30-year period.

However, apart from the fact that there is no decent accommodation for N3 million in a good location, there is no 30-year mortgage available for loan applicants.  Besides, at the current minimum wage, 33.3 percent of N18, 000 will be N5, 994 and a monthly payment of this sum over a 30-year period will amount to N2.15 million.

Taking it further, Adeniyi Akinlusi, CEO, Trustbond Mortgages, emphasises that many households cannot own homes through mortgage because, given their low per capita income, they won’t qualify for mortgages.

Mortgage deficit, he noted, stands at N49.05 trillion and out of a population of 180 million people, 30 percent representing the 44.4 million working class, the mortgage-able adults are only 19.9 million, representing 45 percent of the total population.

This is why mortgage experts insist that job creation is critical to ease homeownership They maintain that government and private sector developers could build all the affordable or social housing they want to, but people have to have jobs to be able to buy either cash or through mortgage.

Nigeria is one the world’s most expensive housing markets where the cost of renting a three-bedroom apartment ranges from N15 million to N20  million per annum in highbrow areas like Victoria Island and Ikoyi in Lagos; Asokoro, Maitama in Abuja; GRA phase 2 in Port Harcourt or Trans Amadi also in Port Harcourt, among other areas in Nigeria.

The country’s  latest effort at improving access to housing finance was the establishment of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) which is aimed to provide liquidity in the mortgage system by raising money from the capital market and using same to refinance primary mortgage banks for on-lending to loan applicants. But, four years down the line, the company is still struggling.

A report on The Lagos Housing Market notes that a mortgage period of 30 years and a housing unit of N2.15 million are hardly available, and this amount excludes interest rate on the mortgage facility. Consequently, even the middle income earners struggle to have access to affordable housing.

The report notes further that Nigeria is faced with a multi-dimensional housing problems stemming from poor planning. It recalls that many initiatives have been launched in the past which did not translate to visible results.

“The country is fraught with abandoned low cost housing projects, inadequate funding, regulatory bottlenecks, lack of focus on residential housing development and unsupportive finance mechanisms,” the report says, pointing out that in most developed countries, affordable housing at different income levels is achieved through assistance from government through planning incentives, tax credit, land provision, infrastructural support and required building approval concessions.

The bane of mortgage access in Nigeria is high interest rate which hovers between 20 percent and 30 percent and this is one of the major reasons for the low homeownership level in the country whose housing deficit is in excess of 20 million units.

Roland Igbinoba, vice chairman, Roland Igbinoba Real Foundation for Housing and Urban Development (RIRFHUD), publishers of the report, laments that, though Lagos currently has the most vibrant property market in Nigeria, home ownership is still at less than 20 percent.

“With a daily intake of 3,000 immigrants, the housing supply has failed to keep up with rapid urbanization and population expansion, especially in the low income market. The housing demand estimate is roughly 4.4 million units while the estimated current supply of housing in the state is 1,417,588 units”, he reveals, adding that “this leaves a gap between housing demand and supply at roughly 3 million units; output is relatively low although there has been increased participation in housing projects from both the government and private sector,” he noted

The extent of housing shortage in Lagos is enormous and the deficit is both quantitative and qualitative, such that 72 percent of Lagos residents are tenants paying rent as high as 50 percent of their monthly income while most of the existing accommodations are provided by private landlords.

On the qualitative housing deficit side, most low income earners live in congested settlements usually characterized by buildings with structural defects, bad roads, poor drainages and pollution, posing health hazards for the inhabitants.

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