Uche Usim, Abuja
Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, on Monday inaugurated the board of Family Homes Funds (FHF), with a charge on the members to ensure they deliver on their mandate by providing affordable homes for 500,000 low income Nigerians and create 1.5 million jobs.
Speaking at the event, the Minister said the constitution of the board was in full realization of President Muhammadu Buhari’s goal of bridging the housing needs gap with the aim of promptly addressing the numerous demands for government interventions in the housing sector.
However, to ensure the gigantic project is not starved of financing, the Minister authorized the board and management of the establishment to pool funds from third party institutionswhich included Development Finance Institutions(DFIs) and the capital market.
Ahmed, who did not disclose how much the government was committing to the project, ordered the board and management to establish top corporate governance culture and a carefully designed internal control mechanisms
“The present administration is committed to the implementation of this Housing Policy through the provision of enough funds for its sustainability in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework for the next five years. It is important to bear in mind that one of the administration’s 11 priority areas is improve access to mass housing and consumer credit to enhance financial inclusion. Thus, the responsibility that will now lie on your shoulders is huge.
“Government expects results, measurable ones at that. Firstly, you are expected to establish top corporate governance culture and a carefully designed internal control mechanisms. The Family Homes Fund will receive significant amount of public money, in addition to other capital from DFIs and the capital market. It must, therefore, be a reliable steward of resources on your part.
“Secondly, we expect you to be creative, bold and ambitious. The housing programme envisaged under the Family Homes Scheme is the largest in the history of our nation and if successfully delivered, it has the potential, not to change lives but also to boost Nigeria’s economy. It will therefore serve as a catalyst to attract investors, provide land ownership to citizens at a lower rate and mobilise funds through mortgage finance. The Poor delivery of affordable housing over the last 30 years is, in part, attributable to lack of cooperation among various agencies tasked with the provision of housing. I therefore, encourage you to seek and build partnerships, and even collaboration. It is quite unlikely that the Fund will achieve the expectations of Mr. President, without partnering the others.
“The Federal Government expects a financially sustainable Fund. Whilst the initial capital commitment from Government will be useful, the expectation is that the company will raise significant third-party capital to finance the programme. On the part of government, I assure you of full support. Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties in the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Muhammed Dikwa, represented by Mr. Denis Chukwu, said the inauguration of the board of the FamilyHomes Fund will help bridge the housing needs in Nigeria.
The Homes Fund he said was established in 2016 to provide affordable houses for 500,000. He disclosed that last Friday, the fund commissioned an estate housing 650 units at Issele Azagba in Delta state.