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Government Urged To Address Housing Deficit

The Managing Director of FESADEB Communications Ltd., Mr. Adebayo, convener of the annual Abuja International Housing Show, made the appeal that for the betterment of the housing sector in 2018, the Federal Government should show a strong commitment by exercising the political will to make the housing sector grow. The expert frowned at the poor performance of the housing sector under the present administration since its inception, adding that the sector has not done well due to lack of political will. In his own words, there was no access for a loan from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) because of the closure of the Estate Development Loan (EDL) due to malpractices of some estate developers.

The EDL is a facility granted to private developers, state housing corporations and housing cooperatives to bridge the housing deficit through the mass housing. Mr. Adebayo also noted that in 2017, there was lack of political will and record of the high cost of building materials, which affected development in the sector. According to him, most of the houses constructed in 2017 were beyond the reach of ordinary Nigerian citizens even the civil servants up till now cannot have the opportunity of having the houses within their reach. Another problem is the issue of Land Use Act which is still a barrier and there have been cases of multiple allocations of land which affected the sector in 2017. He urged the government to look into the barriers facing the FMBN and ensure that necessary support was given to the bank because it was the only bank in Nigeria that could give loan at one digit interest rate.

Adebayo also noted that the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) Scheme, which was established in 2016, should be given the strength and vigor to assist some civil servants to achieve their homes. He said the problem with FISH programme has to do with lack of political will on the part of the government. If the government has the political will in helping civil servants to have access to loan at one digit interest rate, FISH will not be at the level it is presently. Most of the developers who want to build for the FISH programme are crying that they do not have a title that they can use to get a loan from the bank.

On this note, Adebayo called on the National Assembly to urgently review the Land Use Act to enable developers to have access to land for development. He listed high cost of land and building approvals, high cost of building materials, as well as payment by the developers to various organs of government in state and federal level make houses not affordable for the masses because by the time you pay for the land, pay building approval, pay for expensive building materials and pay for double interest rate loan then the houses must have gone beyond the level of the people government want to build for. The National Assembly should review the bill that has to do with the regulation of the Real Estate Practice in Nigeria so the consumers in the housing sector can be protected.

Adebayo also urged the government to establish the idea of “rent to own’’ scheme for low-income earners to key in and own houses after payment of rent for a stipulated time.

Source: PM News

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