Senator Gbenga Ashafa, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), has revealed that the agency requires an estimated amount of N500 billion to facilitate the provision of affordable housing for Nigerians.

This comes as Nigeria experiences a significant housing shortage, particularly in urban and semi-urban regions, as highlighted by the United Nations.

Senator Ashafa who spoke to journalists in a press briefing to kick-start the activities marking the 50th anniversary of FHA, at the Authority’s headquarters at Asokoro, Abuja, yesterday, noted that the agency under his watch is doing its best to close the gap associated with housing deficit in the country.

He named some of such interventions to include various FHA estate projects geared towards meeting the housing needs of high, middle, and low-income earners, in such areas as Zuba, Mboro, Bwari, Kabusa, Maitama 2, all in the Federal Capital Territory, while the same plans are on top gear in the six geographical zones in the country.

” We have commenced the construction of 340 units of houses in the first phase of our Bwari estate, near the Nigerian Law School, Bwari, Abuja, where we intend to replicate our Rent to Own Delivery model we started from Zuba estate.

” In commemoration of this Golden Jubilee celebration, we have commenced with the construction of Golden Jubilee Estate in Mbora District of Abuja. This estate would be replicated in all the zones of the country, with that of Lagos being the next on the line, ” he said.

Senator Ashafa regretted that over the past 50 years, FHA as an agency with its estates scattered around the country has degenerated in quality delivery due to some challenges that confront it, noting that in the “course of the Authority’s 50 years existence, it has passed through successive governments with different policies that impacted on the operational efficiency of FHA. Though well-intentioned, some of the policies were badly implemented.

“For instance, in 1992, the government through the Technical Committee for Privatisation and Commercialisation (TCPC) put up FHA for partial commercialisation with a proposal to give the agency a take-off grant. This move marked the beginning of FHA’s identity crisis; torn between being regarded as a pure civil service entity or commercialisation institution.

“To compound the Authority’s case, in 2023, we were completely removed from the budget without being given the proposed take-off grant. What that means was that we could no longer provide affordable houses as expected of us.”

However, the FHA boss disclosed that the agency under him, apart from providing new housing estates for Nigerians, is also undergoing a lot of innovations through the intervention of his administration.

He mentioned some of these achievements to include clearance of backlog of promotions, improvement of staff welfare by providing the needed work tools and conducive environment.

”When our management came on board, we met an agency that has some of the best professionals in the built industry, with low morale and ill-motivated.

”There was the issue of stagnancy in career progression, an inverted pyramidal-shaped organogram, that had no prospect of succession plans, poor working tools, and environment. All these created an atmosphere of industrial disharmony, low productivity, and penchant for corrupt practices, leaving the Authority at the risk of collapse as best hands were retired, without the plans of being succeeded.”

But he said, “With the support of our board and parent ministry, we were able to replace the junior cadre of the staff, and balanced the organogram to have a pyramidal shape, giving room for succession plan.”

Source: New National Star