By ‘Dotun Akintomide
The Trade Union Congress ( TUC)has faulted the announcement by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to provide Family Home Fund housing scheme which will enable Nigerians pay as little as N30,000 per month to own a house, saying it is largely unrealistic and diversionary from the core issues of governance.
In a chat with Nigerian NewsDirect, the Chairman, Trade Union Congress, Comrade Omoniyi Ogunremi said it was a charade for the federal government to have made such announcement when minimum wage had not been increased despite the groaning of Nigerians under this current administration.
“We should first talk about increasing the minimum wage before talking about the N30,000 housing contribution. That may not be realistic. Government is not sincere about the statement when minimum wage has not been approved.”
“If they are saying N30,000 and workers are collecting N18,000 minimum wage, have they approved the N56,000 minimum wage per month.”
The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, during his Democracy Day speech had intrigued Nigerians with his promise of a Family Home Fund housing scheme which Nigerians who can pay as little as N30,000 per month could afford.
The scheme forms the first phase of the N1 trillion Social Housing Fund of the Buhari administration, which is the largest in the history of the country.
The project has both the World Bank and AFDB, alongside the FG, as contributors to the fund. Developers will borrow 80% of the cost of the building project from the N100 billion pool and counter fund the remaining part of the project with their own 20%.
The total cost of the houses could be as low as N2.5m, which means that subscribers paying N30,000 monthly would require 84 months or 7 years to pay off.
But For the private workers for instance, they should do more by approving programs that would help them get affordable housing and not by going ahead with a program that’s not realistic.
Ogunremi said, even the N56,000 cannot afford much for workers, “so saying workers who don’t even get that amount should contribute N30,000 to finance mortgages is not realistic. Government should face the economy first, for if the economy is good enough, I don’t think this challenge will even surface in the first place.
“I believe it’s a way of diverting people’s attention from the executive mess. Though, the data is not specific, but less than 20% of Nigerian workers are staying in their own houses,” he stated.
The project has begun in 11 states in the country already, with land already provided for the project in these states.
Speaking further, Ogunremi noted that while the federal government claims the total cost of the houses may be as low as N2.5 million, no official statement from the Presidency on what the total cost of each housing unit will be.
“The criteria for accessing the loans still remain unknown as it is still unclear as to if and how members of the informal sector will be included in the project.
“It is also unclear whether other states in the Federation will key into the program as Acting President Osinbajo expects that the Fund will jump-start and expand construction exponentially across the country,” he said.