• Thursday, February 29, 2024
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FG seeks collaboration with IFC on housing reforms, affordability

Housing reforms

The Federal Government says it is seeking collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in its bid to carry out reforms and deliver affordable housing. The collaboration is aimed to deepen the implementation of the Renewed Hope Action Plan for Housing and Urban Development in Nigeria.

Government disclosed its intentions when a delegation from the IFC, led by Dahlia Khalifa, the Corporation’s Regional Director, Central Africa and Anglophone West Africa, visited the housing ministry in Abuja.

Read also: FG plans affordable housing for low, middle-income earners

Ahmed Dangiwa, Minister of Housing and Urban Development who was represented at the meeting by the Minister of State, Abdullahi Gwarzo, underscored the important work of the IFC in providing funding for developmental projects across Africa.

He noted that Nigeria was yet to maximise its partnership with the body, especially in the area of housing and urban development.

“I am aware that the ministry has had several interactions and engagements with the IFC in the past. However, it seems that we have not maximised our partnership with the IFC to empower private developers and the ministry to deliver at a significant scale decent and affordable housing to Nigerians.

Read also: How real estate practitioners can avoid wasting investors’ funds to help reduce housing deficit – Abiodun

Upon reviewing your 2023 Annual Report, I noticed that the IFC has committed over $128.3 billion in loans, grants, investments, and guarantees to partner countries and private businesses. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the report indicates that the IFC committed over $38.6 billion. What remains unclear to me is the specific amount of this investment that flowed into Nigeria, both for the country and private businesses,” the minister noted.

According to him, the focus and priorities of the new government required an enhanced and expanded partnership with the IFC.

“We are determined to realise the vision of the federal government’s Renewed Hope Agenda for housing and urban development. As the drivers of that vision, we are intent on implementing a comprehensive framework for the reform of the housing and urban sector in the country,” Dangiwa said.

He explained that the action plan of the ministry included strengthening the institutional capacity of agencies under its supervision including the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), increasing the supply of decent and affordable housing, establishing a National Social Housing Fund (NSHF), and implementing land reforms to enhance easy and cost-effective access to land.

Others include establishing Building Materials Manufacturing Hubs across the country, implementing a Nationwide Urban Renewal and Slum Upgrading programme, as well as developing new Cities that are integrated, and inclusive using a demand-driven strategy that will ensure prompt off-take of units built. “At the end of this meeting, we would like the IFC and our team to work out a structured actionable framework that would see the Ministry and IFC sign a Comprehensive Partnership Agreement on Housing and Urban Development, covering all areas of IFC’s interventions related to housing and urban development. We would expect this agreement to state what the IFC can do to assist us in achieving our housing and urban development plans, as well as the Ministry’s responsibilities.”

Read also: Housing ministry unveils new initiative to boost housing affordability

Responding, Kalim Shah, Senior Country Manager of the IFC, disclosed that housing was a major focus of the IFC across Africa where they service both the supply and demand sides of the industry, adding that the purpose of the visit was to understand what the ministry was doing and see how the group could partner and support their efforts to enhance the delivery of affordable housing to Nigerians.”

“We see some honest desire on the part of the new government to provide affordable housing to the people, and we’ve come as partners to see how we can support what you’re doing. As an arm of the World Bank, our focus is primarily on private sector investment, so we’re looking for areas where we can work with the ministry in line with your vision for decent and affordable housing solutions to Nigerians,” he said.