Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti
Ekiti State Government has partnered the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to build 50,000 low-cost housing units in the state.
The policy, which has been endorsed by Governor Kayode Fayemi, will span a decade, with the UNOPS being the sole financier of the mortgage arrangement.
A statement on Wednesday by the Assistant Secretary-General and Chief Executive of UNOPS, Mr Vitaly Vanshelboim, said the policy was part of the UNOPS Sustainable Infrastructure Impact Investments (S3I) initiative to easing difficulty in housing ownership.
He said the agreement if implemented will help address housing shortages in Ekiti State, with a focus on sustainability and local economic development.
‘We are very pleased to support this contribution to Nigeria’s national development priorities and in particular, to help meet the critical need for affordable housing, through innovative approaches to construction and mortgage financing.
‘UNOPS is strongly committed to helping find new ways to finance inclusive, resilient and sustainable development activities that generate positive social, economic and environmental impacts,’ added Vanshelboim.
Vanshelboim said that UNOPS will seek to mobilise resources from third-party investors to fund the initiative, which has an estimated gross development value, based on the sales value of completed homes of up to $2 billion.
‘UNOPS and SHS will seek to mobilize resources from funding partners to support this initiative, which may eventually be worth up to $2 billion. SHS will supply proprietary state-of-the-art technology to the project, as well as oversee the development of housing by qualified contractors.
‘UNOPS will provide its comparative advantages in its mandated areas, such as infrastructure, procurement and project management. The government of Ekiti State will identify and allocate suitable land for potential developments, and help to create an enabling environment for foreign direct investment and mortgage finance.
‘Nigeria’s Ekiti State will join one of the largest affordable housing initiatives in the world, following a new agreement that will see at least 50,000 affordable homes built over the next decade.’
Fayemi, who applauded the initiative and the readiness of his government to back the policy, said: ‘This is how our promise of developing Ekiti and improving the lives of the people can be achieved. This partnership has come at an important time, during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reminded us of the need to deliver quality social infrastructure to the people.
‘The affordable homes will feature renewable energy and disease preventative technology, including solar panel roofs, waste-to-energy technology and mosquito-repelling coatings. The initiative is expected to create thousands of local jobs and spur economic growth among a host of local industries.’