N500bn needed to reduce housing deficit, says FHA
The Managing Director of the Federal Housing Authority,Gbenga Ashafa, has said the authority requires at least N500bn to sufficiently reduce the number of homeless persons in the country.
This was as he revealed that the authority has successfully built about 149,000 housing units in the 50 years of its existence.
The MD made this disclosure at a press briefing organised ahead of the 50th anniversary of the housing authority on Friday in Abuja.
The PUNCH reports that FHA was established via a legal instrument known as decree No. 40 of 1973 revised as CAP 136 Laws of the Federation 1990 and now CAP F14 Laws of the Federation 2004 to execute housing programmes approved on behalf of the Government.
Speaking to journalists, the MD noted that housing is a critical sector of the economy and the agency has done its bit by providing 49,000 units in direct construction and 100,000 units through partnerships with private developers.
He stated, “Before the directive that mandated us to be fully privatised before it was changed to a partially commercialised agency, we were able to do so much and that was how we kickstarted the diamond estate projects, festac town, Abesan one, four, five and six. We moved to Ogun State and we have built so many estates.
“A lot of funds were available and we were able to build 49,000 houses in direct construction by FHA. Also, over 100,000 units have been built when you look at partnerships with private developers all around the capital city and other states.
“In total, we would be looking at over 149,000 units of housing built in 50 years and we are prepared to do more with the renewed hope model that is coming in.”
Ashafa, who complained about the amendment of its act that changed its operations from a government wholly owned agency to a partly funded institution, stressed that the authority has made housing affordable for Nigerians.
He said, “Let us be modest. First we are not in the budget of the federal government. We are trying to be modest and if something reasonable will be given to us so we can be able to assist in building, and an amendment to the act is done in such a way that we are able to enter that federal government budget. I won’t be asking for less than N500 billion to start off because there is a lot to be covered.
“As we know there is housing deficits but we are not sure of the number but we know definitely there is a housing deficit.”
“We are starting from somewhere and this rent to home is where we are really going to improve on during this administration.”
He also reiterated the agency’s commitment to allow more persons access its rent-to-own scheme to reduce the number of homeless Nigerians.
Ashafa also revealed that the event is expected to be attended by President Bola Tinubu, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa, Minister of State, Abdullahi Gwarzo while the former minister of works and housing, Babatunde Fashola, will deliver the keynote address.