Nigerians who can afford to contribute N30, 000 a month under a federal government social housing programme would soon own homes of their own, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has said.
The Vice President who said this on Tuesday at the ongoing Nigeria Economic Summit (NES#22) in Abuja, said construction of the houses would be under the social housing programme of the present administration.
Already, he said the government was raising about N1 trillion local and international private sector funding for the programme through a Family Homes Fund, a financial intervention by government.
The Fund, he explained, would help government intervene in mortgage financing for developers to build social houses according to government specification for low income earners in the country.
The housing scheme is part of projects initiated by the jobs creation unit of the VP’s office to create employment opportunities to young Nigerians, while adding value to sectors of the economy under the current economic recession.
Speaking during roundtable plenary session on jobs creation, skills acquisition and employment at the Summit, Mr. Osinbajo said a framework has been developed in conjunction with the NESG focusing on three key sectors – agriculture and agro – allied value chain, construction, and ICT & technology.
He said about nine states have either given land or about to issue certificates of occupancy for land allocated for the social housing scheme.
“Any Nigerian who can afford N30, 000 a month should be able to own a home,” the VPs said. He did not say when the housing scheme will take off.
Mr. Osinbajo said the government’s intention was to create jobs, particularly in agricultural sectors where it intends to ensure self-sufficiency in production of rice, meat, sorghum, soya beans and tomatoes.
Besides, the VP said the government foresaw huge job creation opportunities for brick and tile layers, technicians, engineers, and the whole spectrum of jobs in the construction industry.
In his contribution, Chairman, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, said he was discussing with the government on how to partner with the Cement Institute of Nigeria to utilize his offer of about N15 billion to train artisans, technicians, block makers, plumbers and carpenters.
Mr. Dangote stressed the need for interest free loans, subsidies of zero tax on importation of farm implements and other incentives to encourage farmers and others interested in contributing to the revolution in agriculture.
“If we do the right things, the target of 3 million jobs in two years is too small for a population of over 170 million,” Mr. Dangote said. “With 500,000 graduates every year from our universities, Nigeria is the only country that has more than 50 million people in population and not self-sufficient in anything we consume, namely rice, sugar (where we import 97 per cent) and wheat.
With the country’s population projected to reach 203 million by 2020, Mr. Dangote said it was unimaginable that Nigeria was not self-sufficient in these things.
According to Mr. Dangote, Nigeria has been talking about diversification of the economy since 1978, noting that the country’s problem was not diversification of its economy, but taking deliberated steps to harness the available resources to the proper sectors.
With government policies and incentives, he said his company would make fertiliser available in abundance to Nigerians by 2017.
“I think by the end of next year, people who are going to sell fertiliser will buy it cheaper than what you are buying now.
“We will be begging you to buy it. There would not be scarcity of fertiliser anymore. We have three million tonnes of fertiliser coming into the country,’’ he said.
Again, the Vice President said the government, through the Enabling Business Council, was reviewing the tax incentives in the system, as part of efforts to create the enabling environment for business.
He identified the challenge of adequate financing, considering the difficulty of banks to lend below inflation rate or treasury bill rate, adding that the way forward for agriculture would be through intervention funds.
Apart from the anchor borrowers’ programme, he said government was resuscitating and recapitalizing the Bank of Agriculture to provide some cheap funds to farmers as well as the provision of other infrastructures, like power, despite the impact of gas pipeline vandalism.
Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, who also spoke on the same issue, said the unemployment crisis was not a challenge for government alone, but for all Nigerians.
“If we walk our talk, the challenges the country is facing during this period of recession could be taken as an opportunity to achieve better development and growth,” he said.