From Gyang Bere, Jos
The Federal Government said President Muhammadu Buhari has initiated policies and programmes to confront head-on the challenges of affordable housing for Nigerians.
Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Raji Fashola disclosed this on Thursday during the 9th meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development, held in Jos, Plateau State.
Fashola, who was represented by the Minister of State Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Engr Abubakar Aliyu, said access to affordable human habitats (houses) has been problematic over the years even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘The difficulties of price hike are not only the inflationary pricing driven by excess demand but also extortionary payment of one, two or even up to three years rent in advance,’ he said.
‘Make no mistake, people have struggled under the burden of this extortionist rates and payment increase, in some cases, in the midst of scarcity there are empty house un-occupied for myriad reasons such as size, price, payment mode and so on and so forth.
‘In cases where rent of businesses or individuals are due for renewal, the private landlords can give back, by accepting monthly, quarterly or half-yearly rent instead of one, two or three years rent in advance.
‘The risk of defaults can be secured by bank guarantees or insurance bonds provided by the tenant. Where rent has fallen into arrears, it is possible to emulate what FGN did through the CBN to reschedule payment on loans, by re-scheduling the payment for the tenant to more affordable terms instead of pursuing eviction.’
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for the intervention in road and other infrastructure in Plateau and his administration has also put in place policies to ease acquisition of housing for the citizens.
‘The major challenge of housing delivery globally begins with access to land by those intending to either build houses for personal use or those who invest in providing mass houses. Most often, the acquision of land is riddled with difficulties that end up adding the cost of the houses when eventually delivered.
‘From challenges of acquiring land titles to perfecting documentation, access to land in many cases is difficult especially where there are no geographic information systems that can reduce the challenges of documentation, verification, transfer and authenticating land transactions.’
He said to encouraged Plateau people to live up to their responsibility, government has approved a 50% discount on all land related charges in the State from 2016 to date beside signing into law the anti-land grabbing.
‘This has seen many people also taking advantage of the opportunity to formalise their land documentation thereby allowing us to generate the relevant data that gives us a better picture of property in the state.’
Commissioner for Housing, Plateau State, Hon Zulfa Bitrus Rimven, said the Lalong administration has provided the ground for Plateau citizens to acquire properties and access housing at affordable price.