The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has begun construction of the pilot phase of a low-cost housing programme for civil servants nationwide.
The Nasarawa State housing site is the first of 14 locations under the pilot phase of the programme initiated in collaboration with the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (NUC),
and Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA).
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FMBN, Ahmed Dangiwa, who performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the scheme on Wednesday said it will deliver 1,400 housing units nationwide.
Mr Dangiwa said about 200 units will be constructed in each of the six geopolitical zones in the country, in addition to extras in Lagos and Abuja.
The programme, which goes by the theme: “National Affordable Housing Delivery Programme for Nigerian Workers,” holds huge prospects to significantly help redress housing deficit in the country currently put at about 22 million.
The managing director said the housing programme is a product of a partnership between FMBN and the labour unions, aimed at building and delivering decent, safe and quality houses for Nigerian workers at prices they can afford.
In line with this goal, he said house types planned for construction under the programme would be based on proven social housing models comprising one, two and three-bedroom units with prices ranging between N3.1million and N8.3 million.
The groundbreaking ceremony was at a location provided by the Nassarawa State government along the new Kwandare, Keffi Road, Lafia.
The land was provided as part of government’s counterpart contribution to ensure the success of the project.
At least about 100 housing units are to be delivered in the state within a six-month construction time frame.
“The launch of the National Housing Delivery Programme is a momentous development,” Mr Dangiwa said.
“It marks the first time FMBN and the labour unions have worked closely with experts and industry stakeholders to develop a realistic and acceptable framework for delivering affordable housing to Nigerian workers.
He noted the collaborative spirit the programme has fostered, saying it has given room for labour leaders, who understand the realities and financial challenges Nigerian workers face, to make constructive inputs to the housing designs, pricing range and other relevant conditions for delivering the project.
The FMBN boss said the involvement and contributions of various interest groups to the project design would make the National Affordable Housing Delivery Programme a fit-for-purpose tool to deliver affordable houses to workers.
He said the project is a significant departure from earlier failed social housing projects, which were executed without taking adequate cognizance of the concerns and economic realities of the Nigerian workers.
Also speaking at the event, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, commended the FMBN for initiating and driving the partnership, noting that the project will touch the lives of many Nigerians.
He urged the State government to ensure that the land it provided was at zero cost for the state workers.
The Nasarawa State governor, Umaru Al-Makura, expressed delight at the takeoff of the project and thanked FMBN and the Labour unions for choosing the state as the first location for the pilot.
The governor commended FMBN for the initiative and expressed the commitment of the state government to its success.
Besides, the governor said his administration granted FMBN’s request for an additional five hectares of land for the provision of relevant facilities as well as speedy facilitation of electricity supply to the estate.
Under the terms of the programme, the FMBN would provide low-interest housing loans to registered contributors to the National Housing Fund (NHF) to enable them to purchase the houses.
Eligible workers whose loan requirements fall below N5 million will not be expected to pay any equity contribution to access the facility.
Those requiring between N5 million and N15 million would have to provide only 10 percent equity contribution, instead of the old requirement regime of 20 and 30 percent.
The FMBN spokesperson, Zubaida Umar, explained the housing loans have a convenient payment plan with tenors of up 30 years, depending on the age of the beneficiaries and years in service.
Other states and locations scheduled for groundbreaking for the project include Kogi, Enugu, Abia and Akwa Ibom for October 11, 15, 16 and 18 respectively.