From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has secured the pledge from cement manufacturers in the country to offer discount on the commodity for the Federal Government’s Social Housing Scheme.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, in a statement titled “FG, cement manufacturers agree on discount charge for ESP 30,000 social housing units” qouted Osinbajo as saying this while visiting the completed model houses in Dei Dei at the Federal Capital Territory over the weekend.
Prices of cement had hit the roof in the country towards the end of 2020 with stakeholders in the housing sector raising concerns.
Osinbajo said that the gesture would boost government’s plan to build houses for low income earners under the Economic Sustainability Plan.
“They (cement manufacturers) have agreed to give cement for this project at considerable discount which is a very helpful thing to do and we really commend and thank them for the contributions they are making,
“It is a very patriotic thing on their part. They also see the importance of this Mass Housing Programme,” Osinbajo reportedly said.
The Vice President on seeing the prototypes of the one-bedroom and two-bedroom bungalows, expressed satisfaction with the quality of the design and the fact that the houses are very affordable.
Osinbajo added, “On the average, anybody who is earning N30,000 a month and is ready to spend a third of that amount, will be able to afford one of these houses, that is the plan. What I have seen so far, there is a one-bedroom unit and there is a two-bedroom unit, both coming under N2 million.
“I think that this is a very good thing indeed. And a point has been made that it is possible to build good, decent accommodation that isn’t out of the reach of practically everyone.”
Commenting on the implementation of the scheme across the country, Osinbajo assured the people that the Mass Housing Programme will be provided across the country.
He said, “We are hoping that we will be able to replicate this not just in Abuja but all over the country. So far, the Family Homes Fund is in 11 States, and they have given up land for the project.
“We are hoping that this year, we will be able to very rapidly improve the scale and speed of putting these houses in place. Once we are able to get moving quickly, we think we can make available several thousands of houses across the country and more people can afford to live in such houses.”
The Vice President noted that the job creation component of the ESP could also be actualised through Social Housing Scheme.
He added, “Also important is the job creation aspect of it. You have young men and women who are builders, architects, civil engineers working on this project.
“We are hoping that a lot of the building materials will be locally fabricated especially the windows, doors and other components of the houses.”
The social housing scheme of the resent regime is an important aspect of the plan by the Federal Government to address the housing needs in the country by building thousands of low-cost houses and in the process create wealth and jobs for youths that will be engaged in the construction of the houses.
Under the ESP, the Federal Government has mandated the Central Bank to provide financing for the housing scheme and a N200B facility has been approved as the first tranche already.
There would also be Rent to Own option as part of the administration’s resolve to impact the common man in this social housing plan expected to generate 1.8m jobs and deliver houses to about 1.5m Nigerian families.
The implementing agency, Family Homes Fund Limitedan agency under the Federal Ministry of Finance, has already mobilized thousands of Cooperative groups across the country who will participate in the Social Housing plan as the main warehouse agents and also mobilize the low-income buyers. For instance, FHF has met with 93 Cooperative Leaders from the 6 geographical zones, under the aegis of the Co-Operatives Federation of Nigeria.
Individuals who do not belong to cooperatives have not been left out as they can also apply through the portal: www.nshp.gov.ng.