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The Federal Capital Territory Minister in the person of Malam Muhammad Bello has commissioned 300 affordable housing units and also laid the foundation for the development of another 300 in Kaba District of Abuja.
The Minister said the FCT Administration embarked on the project to give teeth to President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts in tackling housing deficits in the country and ensuring good shelter for all.
He added, saying, “We started with reforming the institutional framework for housing development in the Territory with a view to making it possible for private investors to move in…because of our belief that government alone cannot provide all the houses that the people need.
“It is interesting to note that for as low as 6, 12 or 16 million naira, young, middle or higher level officers could subscribe to houses that fit their income after an initial modest down-payment according to terms corresponding to their mortgage arrangement.
“I am glad to note that beside the provision of houses the agency is creating jobs for a considerable number of skilled and unskilled workers. I am aware that this estate has over 700 construction professionals and artisans working here.
“I must inform us that Abuja is a mature city now and like all mature cities, the idea of empty plots has become a far cry. Indeed, phases I to III of the city has been fully allocated while what remains of phases IV and V is all we have currently. Consequently, the FCTA is emphasizing allocations to groups and institutions as well as high-rise developments to use the few spaces remaining to benefit the greatest number”.
FCT Permanent Secretary, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye who represented the Minister disclosed there was “no housing deficit in Abuja, but there is deficit in affordable housing. Go everywhere, you see estates locked up, and fanciful estates that people cannot afford to buy.
“That is why we are doing this. One bed room is N6 million, two bed room starts from N10 to N12 million. It is affordable, with the help of the Federal Mortgage Bank that we give our civil servants loan and the Federal Government Staff Housing Loan Board is there for our civil servants to access loans and be able to afford this. So these are the kinds of things we are asking people to do, not to build houses that are not affordable”.
On the issue of private developers taking land for mass housing and selling it, the Minister affirmed: “That has stopped. That is why the Honourable Minister has suspended mass housing allocation. We are sorting out all these, talking to developers.
“The era of where people take land and sell is over. Now, you don’t take land and receive title. If you want to develop now, you have lease agreement for development. It is when we know that you are serious, may be up to three years that we start talking about giving you title. So everything is restructured now. It is not like before.
Executive Director, Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board (FGSHLB), Dr. Hannatu Fika while delivering good will message noted that effective housing has multiplier effect on our economy through direct and indirect employment, adding that affordable housing has potentials including good health, reduced anxiety, depression and security”, among others.
She further in her good will message, she revealed that that was why FGSHLB did float a “revolving loan scheme to cater for the housing needs of all interested public servants”, adding that the board has “developed a strategy to collaborate with estate developers identified by public servants themselves”.
Acting Managing Director, Abuja Property Development Company (APDC), Mr. Yunusa Yusuf in his vote of thanks disclosed that the “commissioning of the first 300 units in APDC Capital Estate marks gradual completion of the provision of 615 housing units in phase I of the estate”.
Source: The Nation