Business & Economy - News - May 10, 2021

Nigerian govt. acquires 2,000 hectares in 24 states for social housing

Says 17 states agree to sign on to "solar power Naija" initiative, with Jigawa, Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Kano as pilot for next phase  

Over 2000 hectares of land with titled documents have been acquired by the Federal Government in 24 States of the Federation for the Social Housing programme.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who disclosed this in Abuja as part of the highlights of the review meeting on the Economic Sustainability Plan implementation on Friday said 17 States have already indicated interest to participate in the Solar Power programme.
The housing and solar power initiatives are both important elements of the ongoing Economic Sustainability Plan.
The VP said agreement has now been reached with at least one major cement manufacturer in the country to sell at significantly discounted prices as low as N2600 per bag of cement for the social housing projects.
The agreement was reached at a meeting between the Vice President and three major cement manufacturers in the country, namely Dangote Cement, Bua Cement and Lafarge Cement manufacturers.
Commenting on the implementation of components of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), Osinbajo said the Buhari administration would continue to focus on creating more jobs, while improving access to power and affordable housing for majority of Nigerians.
On the progress so far, the Vice President assured that the Federal Government would ramp up efforts to ensure more Nigerians have access to electricity and affordable housing.
The Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Ahmad Salihijo, the Solar Power Naija team had engagements with the six states that have identified private sector developers.
The team has also selected Akwa Ibom, Ekiti and Kano as pilot states for the state-guaranteed transaction model for the solar power programme.
Salihijo explained that REA was currently tracking transactions worth N55 billion potentially contributing the first two million connections in Nigeria and providing thousands of jobs.
For instance, he said the programme was currently tracking four transactions in the commercial bank upstream channel contributing 3,500 jobs and 100,000 connections.
The MD added that nine participants have submitted applications for over N4 billion of the N20 billion allocated with three companies close to receiving disbursements.
“Bleu Camel Energy with a loan amount of N3 billion is targeting to create 600 jobs; Sunking, another investor with a loan amount of N3 billion will create 1,500 jobs; Auxno Solar with N300 million loan amount targets 100 jobs, while Emerald Industrial Co. is seeking N3 billion funding to manufacture 100,000 Solar Home Systems and smart meters,” the MD said.
On the other hand, the Managing Director/CEO of the Family Homes Fund Limited (FHFL) – the implementing agency for the Social Housing scheme, Femi Adewole, stated that 17,584 units across 16 locations are now on the pipeline.
“We are having a successful push in assembling land to feed the housing construction. So far, about 2156.4ha have been assembled ready for development. This has the capacity to accommodate about 65,000 homes,” he said.
Adewole further said that under the ESP Social Housing programme, Nigerians would be given at least a 15-year period with a monthly payment at six percent interest rate to pay for each housing unit.
While the rates are significantly low, the MD noted that this period can also be extended through refinancing.
“This will help to improve access to housing for low-income people in the informal sector who-(otherwise) will not have an opportunity to access a mortgage,” he stated.
In addition to the typical 2, 3, and 4-bedroom housing units, he said the FHFL was considering a “Students and Young People’s Housing – to address the needs of young people.”
An agreement with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has now been finalized and signed by Family Homes Funds, he disclosed, while drawdown is subject to a guarantee from the Ministry of Finance.
It would be recalled that the CBN had committed to a N200billion facility with a guarantee by the FG via the Finance Ministry for the Social Housing scheme.
Speaking further, the FHFL MD noted the agency has struck partnerships with Dangote Cement for the provision of cement at subsidized rates to construct the ESP homes, adding that “we expect to reach a similar agreement with the other two majors shortly.”
He added that the FHFL has signed an MoU with the ESP Solar Power project including 3 suppliers to provide low-cost solar panels to the homes.
Adewole stated that the delivery of the units would be through SME Delivery Partners – who are being encouraged to register on the Housing Portal.
“So far about 7,333 SME groups and individuals are registered on the online portal. Up to 2,000 of these will be involved in current projects.
“We will be drawing from ongoing experience on our project in Yola where the construction of 3,600 homes are ongoing and a partnership between FHFL and the Ministry of Housing is implementing a large-scale youth employment scheme currently employing 1350 young people. The young people are manufacturing interlocking tiles, paving, screeding, etc,” he said.
For the ESP Social Housing, Adewole said “about 228 Manufacturers of Building Components have expressed interest in supplying inputs including doors, glazing, paint, roofing sheet, etc. We are now engaging with these to secure bulk supply of key materials which in turn will provide opportunity to grow their production capacity.”
Already, he said, sites for early start projects have been identified in all the 6 geo-political zones in addition to the FCT. The sites include those in Ekiti and Ogun in the Southwest, Enugu, and Abia in the Southeast, Delta, and Edo in the South-south, Yobe, and Bauchi in the Northeast, Kaduna, and Katsina in the Northwest and Nasarawa and Plateau in the North-central. Sites have also been identified in Abuja including at Dei Dei where the VP earlier visited to see the sample designs of the Social Housing homes.
Speaking specifically on the mass housing scheme, Osinbajo emphasized that the focus must be on providing affordable housing for the masses.
“If the Federal Government is going to intervene in housing, most of it should be social housing. Everybody else, including the private sector, can build N9.6 million worth houses, but nobody else will do social housing.
“All over the world, when government intervenes, it is social housing…those who cannot afford housing are the ones we must focus attention on.
“I think that we have enough problems with finding homes for the vast majority of Nigerians who cannot find a home. The people who are poorest who have no houses are the people we should target because that is what government should do. Let’s focus on this social housing.”
The Vice President assured that the Federal Government would continue to collaborate with States to ensure more Nigerians benefited from the Social Housing scheme.
Under the Social Housing Programme, the Federal Government plans to support 1.5 million Nigerians to acquire low-cost houses through mortgage options and also Rent to Own option.
The scheme is expected to also generate 1.8 million jobs and deliver houses to about 1.5 million Nigerian families. The houses are to be priced around and about N2millio and N4m each putting it within the reach of the low-income earners, depending on the number of rooms. There are one, two and three bedrooms options. ###

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