FG Launches National Cooperative Housing scheme

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By Olanipekun Olayinka

In a bid to further provide better housing and shelter for Nigerians, the Hon Minister of works and Housing Mr. Babatunde Fashola has commissioned Wood hill estate under ACACARE co-operatives and flag-off of Cooperatives Housing Development.

The minister while commissioning the project on Monday in Kuje, Abuja disclosed that the Federal government is kin at making affordable housing and consumer credit accessible to Nigerians based on the NEXT LEVEL commitments of the government as declared by President Muhammadu Buhari at the ministerial retreat held in last year.

According to him, “This is a mandate item of the housing sector of the Ministry of Works and Housing; as the policymaking arm of government, and we have assigned the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) a parastatal of the Ministry of Works and Housing, the implementation responsibility for executing our policy of PARTNERSHIPS with cooperatives.”

Fashola added that  co-operatives are an autonomous association of persons united voluntary to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned enterprise

He said, “The key word in that definition is the “voluntary” nature of cooperatives, and this is critical in the formulation of our policy of partnerships with cooperatives as a means of overcoming the problems of “Acceptability” and affordability that stand in the way of access to housing.”

He made it know that it is important because their experiences,  investigations and  observations revealed that there are hundreds of thousands of empty and unoccupied houses in major cities across Nigeria due to enormous structures which is too big, over built and underbuilt which are unacceptable to those who need them.

Fashola further disclosed that little or no consultation takes place between the builders and the consumers they built for which has prompted them to undertake a pilot scheme  to build in 34 states who provided land. What the people we consulted said they will find acceptable. Because of the lack of consultation and acceptability problem, the problem of affordability creeps in.

He revealed that “the policy development team has found the voluntary nature of cooperatives very useful because members are expected to design and build according to their needs and their income, as they find affordable adding that co-operatives have proven to be successful in areas like transportation, agriculture, trade and commerce, market associations and amongst large groups in the informal sector.

“It is these large members of the informal sector that we seek to reach, scale up constructions of houses and the multiplier effects on the economy for cottage industries who make building materials like paint, doors, roofing materials, nails, and electrical fittings to mention a few

Fashola said the scale of construction by voluntary associations is expected to ramp up employment and income for artisans who will build houses. This will be our contribution to President Buhari’s commitment to raise a hundred million out of poverty in a decade.

“As in other sectors, when cooperatives have been successful, we can point to modest successes of partnerships by FMBN with some cooperatives in the formal sector that currently has 52 housing projects under construction to deliver 4,624 units in 2020.”

He added that “cooperatives must be registered in other to be eligible and  they are expected to acquire their own land, get title to it, seek and obtain a building permit from the governments of the respective states where their land is located stating that the scheme seeks to eliminate incidents of unapproved buildings and slums which governments later seek to demolish.

“Also, all state government agencies in charge of land have been briefed at the National Council launch meeting held in Abuja on November 7th 2019.

“The Mandate and the role of the FMBN is to then provide construction funding to the cooperatives to build the houses, and to provide mortgage finance to the individual members to buy the house and pay back in instalments at a rate not exceeding 10% per annum.”

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