NCP approves commercialisation of FHA to solve Nigeria’s housing challenges

The initial aim of the FHA was to provide affordable housing to low-income earners in the country.

The National Council on Privatisation, NCP, has approved the commercialisation of the Federal Housing Authority, FHA, in an effort to redress the huge housing deficit in the country.

This was one of the decisions reached by the Council at its third meeting since the beginning of 2013.

To facilitate the objective of the new policy, a steering committee headed by the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ama Pepple, has been constituted to work out details of the exercise.

The FHA, a parastatal under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, was established in 1973 with the responsibility of preparing and executing a National Housing Programme as may be approved by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The FHA has a wholly-owned subsidiary, FHA Homes and Savings Limited, which serves as its Primary Mortgage Institution, PMI, with the mandate to maintain savings and mortgage loan accounts of customers interested in owning their personal houses.

Although the initial objective of the Federal Government was to deploy the FHA and its subsidiary as vehicles for bringing affordable housing to the doorsteps of the less privileged in the country, the low income earners have continued to face the problem of inadequate housing nationwide.

“Since inception about 40 years ago, the FHA has only been able to build about 37,000 housing units in 80 estates across the country; an average of less than 1000 houses per annum,” said Chigbo Anichebe, Head of Public Communications, Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, in a statement.

Mr Anichebe also pointed out that the current housing deficit in Nigeria is estimated at 17 million units. He noted that studies have shown that the challenges the FHA has been facing in its efforts to deliver on its mandate include: high operating losses, increasing legacy debts, poor internally generated revenue (IGR), base, inability to effectively function without government funding and excessive borrowing from other institutions for survival.

Other challenges include high cost of housing units that render the houses unaffordable to many middle and low-income earners, poor financial management and corporate reporting practice, poor IT infrastructure and corporate affairs framework, political interference and meddling in its operations; lack of transparency and attendant corruption, and recurrent lack of trust within and outside the management team.

The Council urged the committee to ensure that it worked out a way of developing a housing scheme that would ensure that affordable houses are provided for Nigerians.

Meanwhile, the meeting also approved, on a temporary basis, the relocation of Associated Maritime Services, AMS, from Terminal B, Old Warri Port to Terminal A, New Warri Port in Delta State as Terminal B, which has some structural defects, was undergoing rehabilitation.

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