The State Government is working hard to deliver more homes to Lagosians, writes Tayo Ogunbiyi
With the latest commissioning of the 774 housing units at the Sangotedo axis of the State by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, access to ownership in Lagos is steadily getting better.
Speaking at the unveiling of the new homes, Governor Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the 744 units LagosHOMS Sangotedo Housing Scheme (Phase 1), comprising 248 One-bedroom, (a room self-contained), 248 2-bedroom and 248 3-bedroom homes, is the largest housing scheme to be completed by his administration.
Sanwo-Olu said that apart from fostering an enabling environment for family life and for raising future leaders, decent homes help in reducing occurrences of security breaches to the minimum.
Since the inception of the Sanwo-Olu administration on May 29, 2019, 14 housing schemes have been completed and inaugurated in various parts of the State.
Yet, the government isn’t resting on its oars as it is working hard to deliver more homes for Lagosians.
For instance, according to the Commissioner for Housing, Mr. Moruf Fatai-Akinderu, the Phase 2 of the Sangotedo scheme will be delivered in due course. When completed, it will offer additional 444 homes to the housing stock in the area.
The good thing about the homes being built by the government is that they come with fantastic infrastructural components such as a network of well-structured roads, adequate drainage system, perimeter fence, sewage treatment plant, water treatment plant and electricity.
Another exciting aspect of the State’s housing initiative is its job creation dimension as over 16, 904 jobs have been created through construction work in the various housing schemes across the State. Besides the main and sub-contractors, numerous artisans, labourers, suppliers and food vendors are also effectively engaged and earning a living from these projects.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu revealed this while commissioning the 480 Housing Unit at Ibeshe, Ikorodu, saying that it is in acknowledgement of its job creation potential that his administration considers housing development a topmost priority.
He described provision of housing as one of the core mandates of his administration, adding that the commissioning ceremony was a clear testimony and indication of fulfillment of electoral promises.
Also, in a bid to reduce incidences of building collapse, cost of property development and enhance quality in housing development the Governor Sanwo-Olu has unveiled plans to build the competence of local artisans and craftsmen in the State.
The purpose of the plan, the governor said, is to improve the skills of local artisans and bring them at par with their contemporaries in the region and the world at large.
Speaking while commissioning a 774 housing units of LagosHOMS Sangotedo Phase 1, Governor Sanwo-Olu said there is so much skill gap in the built sector, which forced Nigerian developers to prefer artisans from other countries.
He described the development as sad, especially when the construction industry has a large potential for economic engagement for the Nigerian youth.
Consequently, the governor disclosed that the Ministry of Housing would soon come up with an artisan training package tagged MasterCraft Programme where over 1000 artisans would be trained.
Harping on his administration’s drive to invest in a mass housing scheme, Sanwo-Olu said that the government has to continue to build decent homes in livable communities for people so that they can be psychologically and socially stable enough to contribute their quota to the ‘Greater Lagos’ project.
Since everyone can obviously not benefit from the State’s housing schemes, the government is working on the commencement of a monthly rent payment scheme which will commence soon in the State.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Benson-Awoyinka disclosed this during a discussion on Rental Policies at the Second Lagos Real Estate Market Place Conference and Exhibitions.
She maintained that the new initiative will greatly ease the burden of yearly payment on residents, assuring that landlords will, however, get their annual payment of house rent upfront, while tenants will no longer have the burden of yearly payment of a huge amount of money.
Her words: “Tenants can therefore use the yearly payment for other forms of investments or for payment of school fees as the burden of payment of yearly rent is taken away from them completely. So it is a win-win social investment scheme, it is a good one and it is applaudable”.
The Special Adviser explained that for tenants interested in the scheme, they must be able to meet some requirements which include the capacity to make the payments on a monthly basis, stressing that the scheme will begin with those in the formal sector with monthly income after which the informal sector will be brought on board.
On his part, the Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, said the initiative was part of the resilience policy of the current administration, noting that the state government did a rental survey and found out that 88 per cent of tenants would rather pay their rent monthly.
With the housing deficit in the State, the government is still resolute on creating more innovative methods for supplying decent and affordable homes to the people of the State. Given the State’s limited land mass and the increased pressure on available lands for housing and other developmental ventures, the time is ripe for thinking outside the box.
In the course of time, the government is keen on evolving an inclusive strategy through which owners of old homesteads partner with the government in terms of releasing old properties to the government for vertical developments of blocks of homes. The land on which the homes are will be viewed as equity for the family concerned while the government will partner in building high rise accommodation to serve as homes for more people. This is a strategy that will also result in urban renewal and regeneration of old homesteads.
The government is also actively driving cluster arrangements via Cooperatives to satisfy the yearnings of as many people as possible in this bracket. This group is accommodated through the ‘Rent to Own’ Scheme which is our own unique way of increasing affordability. This scheme enables an allottee to pay only 5% as initial payment with the rest spread over a period of 10 years with a minimal interest of 6%.
Effective mortgage funding at a reasonable interest rate to reduce the high cost of funding for housing is also part of our policy considerations. In addition, the government is actively encouraging research into the use of local building materials to reduce cost of building. In this way, the issue of affordability is being addressed, while also energizing the economy through reduced import cost.
On the whole, governmental policies in all sectors are being tailored towards a more integrated and fully incorporated synergy for the total benefit of the people.
With this, location of housing schemes either in rural or urban parts of the State will soon be inconsequential in making choice of homes, especially with multimodal means of transportation embarked upon by the government.
Ogunbiyi is Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.