Fidelis David in Akure

As part of measures to deliver decent, safe, and quality housing for Nigerian workers at affordable prices, the federal government yesterday commissioned 100 housing units at Ilara-Moki, in Akure, Ondo State.

The housing programme is a collaboration between Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA).

In his address, the Executive Director, Business Development and Portfolio Management, FMBN, Mr. Kingsley Chukwuma, said that the commissioning of FMBN-NLC/TUC/NECA Housing Estate, under the National Affordable Housing Delivery Programme (NAHDP) would facilitate home ownership dream of the union members who are contributors to the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme.

Chukwuma said that the housing unit comprised of 20 units of 1-bedroom detached bungalows; 40 units of 2-bedroom detached bungalows and 40 units of 3-bedroom detached bungalows, fully serviced with basic infrastructure including internal road network/drainages, electricity, and water reticulated to all the housing units to create a conducive and livable environment.

His words: “It would be remembered that the NHF is a mandatory contributory scheme that requires Nigerian workers in both public and private sectors earning a minimum of N3,000.00 per annum to contribute 2.5 per cent of their monthly income to the scheme. Based on regular contribution to the fund, a contributor becomes eligible to enjoy from FMBN a number of loans and services at concessionary interest rates which are repayable over a long tenor of over 25 years.

“l am pleased that today’s ceremony is an affirmation that the NHF scheme is meeting its mandate of providing access to home ownership to the overriding majority of middle and low income working class in Nigeria who are also the commanding majority of the contributors to the NHF scheme.

“It is extremely important to note that besides the fact that FMBN provided the construction funds for the development of this housing estate, at a concessionary interest rate of 10 per cent, it cannot be forgotten that the bank also provides mortgage financing for the purchase of these houses to the buyers at the rate of 6.0 per cent, which is also the lowest interest rate in Nigeria with a repayment period of over 25 years. There is no other bank in Nigeria with a long-term facility at that rate and tenor.”

Commissioning the project, the Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), expressed delight with the completion of the housing units, while applauding the FMBN and labour unions for their cooperation and support.

Akeredolu, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr Olugbenga Ale ,said: “No doubt, the housing units has further increased ‘the housing stock of Ondo State. From available statistics, housing deficit in Nigeria is now said to have risen to about 28 million housing units which will require several trillions of Naira to offset. It is even more alarming because the population of the country is growing at a geometric rate and shelter is one of the most basic needs of man.

“We acknowledge our obligation to provide shelter for our people, and it is indeed the commitment of our administration under our Redeemed Agenda to provide massive infrastructure, including housing infrastructure, notwithstanding our limited resources.

“Interventions such as the current one by the federal government, through the FMBN, in collaboration with the private developer, Plural Developments Limited, is indeed a step in the right direction, as it will boost our effort to provide housing for the people. The rising cost of housing delivery and the inadequate capacity of off-takers have always constituted a serious challenge.”

In his remarks, the President, Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Waba, who was represented by Mr. Benson Upah, thanked the FMBN for the initiative, saying that it is in line with the renewed drive to increase the delivery of affordable housing to Nigerian workers.