Financing housing development and empowering people for accessibility are the twin issues hampering the impact of government intervention in the housing sector.
This was the assertion of Moruf Akinderu-fatai, Commissioner for Housing, Lagos State, at a recent engagement meeting with representatives of various development partners in Lagos.
Speaking at the forum, Akinderu-fatai pointed out that the housing challenge in Lagos is complex because of the continued and uncontrollable influx of people from all over the nation.
He noted that given the rate at which the population of the state is increasing, there must be proactive measures to ensure that governmental interventions result in substantial positive impacts in the lives of the people.
He also reiterated that the Lagos State government is working hard to map out Housing financing products that are domesticated to solve the peculiar housing challenges of the State.
“We have to formalize the informal sector so that majority of our people can take advantage of a financing product that supports instalment payments”, he said.
He said while global financing models are attractive, they may not address the unusual problems of Lagos State.
He pointed out that provision of mass and social housing is a key agenda of the State government but the impact can only be felt when there is a structured financing mechanism that is based on predictable population growth.
Apart from the Rent to Own scheme which gives the opportunity of repayment over a period of 10 years, the State government is also looking at more workable financing options that will help the informal sector.
The Commissioner also said that more vertical construction of homes will take place both by government and private investors to optimize the land space available in the state.
He then concluded that a viable housing development fund is one that will address the issue of financing both the supply and demand angles of Housing development.
Akinderu Fatai seized the opportunity to point out that the commitment of the State government is unequivocal and that “Lagos State will continue to work relentlessly until more Lagosians are brought on the homeownership ladder”, he added.
Akinderu-fatai noted that 492 Allottees of the Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande Gardens, Alimosho area were given keys to their homes while in a few weeks the Igbogbo 11b housing scheme in Ikorodu local government area will be ready for 360 homeowners.
Other schemes in the pipeline for 2020, according to Akinderu-fatai include Sangotedo Scheme in Eti Osa local government with 774 home, Odo Onosa /Ayandelu in Epe local government area with 668 homes to mention a few. He also unravelled the State Government plan to upgrade some slums in the area to liveable cities as part of a global plan to transform the State into a 21st-century economy that is distinct and comparable to others in the world.
“In with our passion for great progress in the sector, funding is needed and assistance from our development partners will be highly appreciated,” he said.
Earlier at the engagement meeting, the Project Manager of Arctic Infrastructures, Lookman Oshodi had made a presentation on the proposed Lagos Affordable Housing Development Fund, a financing product which promises relief to both developers and aspiring homeowners both in the formal and informal sector.
According to Oshodi, the uniqueness of the financing package is the fact that it is targeted at low-income earners, it can also be accessed by both construction companies and home-seekers and will be made up of contributions made by both government and private sector.
The fund will also cater to training and capacity building and upgrading of artisans and mortgage operators, development of innovative building technology, sustainable housing developments and renewable of slums.
The suggested funding from the government is expected to be sourced from contributions by local governments, subventions, infrastructure development charge, Housing fund surcharge and Lagos Pension fund. Private sector contributions can be in the form of grants and donations from both local and international organizations.
In disbursing the fund, Oshodi said, “part of the financing will serve as a Habitat fund which will be given as loans to those earning between N20000 and N59000 with a repayment plan of 20years.”
This will be channelled through microfinance banks with cooperative societies serving as intermediaries”. “Construction fund will also be granted to developers having vertical construction with sustainable energy ideas. This class of support is repayable within 3 years,” he discloses.
While the fund is the product, Oshodi also proposed a Trust that will ensure accountability, credibility and sustainability.
There was a robust and enriching discourse on various issues pertaining to an affordable shelter by all the partners. Top on the list was the provision of workable structure to reach the masses so that homes are not hijacked by the rich, continued maintenance of existing schemes to prevent rapid dilapidation, provision of homes for young professionals, the introduction of cost-saving techniques to reduce the cost of building homes and increasing sustainability of future cities.
In summing up the deliberations, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Housing Lagos state, Wasiu Akewusola appealed for greater collaboration with the government on developing and implementing a financing document that will be apt for Lagos State.
At the end of the meeting, it was agreed by all present that financing Housing development and homeownership are the missing links in the Affordability paradigm. It was also confirmed that providing a workable financing solution to the problem of Housing deficit is very crucial.
Also present at the meeting were Monica Ummuna, Project director of projects, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Jurgen Anderson, an architect and urban planner from Dept of Architecture University of Denmark, Head of Prosperity Fund; British Deputy High Commission, Economic Trade Advisor for Netherlands Consulate, CEO, National Future Cities, Nigeria, Head; Giz Nigeria, Project Manager; Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Head; Nigeria Slum Informal Settlement, and CEO; NISA Housing amongst others.