Lagos Plans new Housing Scheme for Young Professionals

Better days may be in the offing for young professionals in Lagos as the state government is planning a new homeownership scheme to solve their peculiar housing challenges.

The scheme christened “HOME4MORE”, targets young professionals with the aim of giving them a good start in life. It was learnt that the scheme would be channelled through micro finance banks with cooperative societies serving as intermediaries.

Under the scheme, construction fund would also be granted to developers that promote vertical  construction with sustainable energy ideas.
Senior officials of government disclosed that, homes will be built to cater for the need of professionals, while rents will be paid monthly to reduce financial and economic hindrances or barriers to decent accommodation.

Although, the state authorities are still seeking private sector’s buy-in through partnership, the scheme billed for 2021, targets professionals between the age of 25 to 35 years.

Confirming the development, the State’s Commissioner for Housing, Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, said a huge percentage of Lagosians, of about 85 per cent live in rented apartments. According to him, there is need for intervention since professionals spend over 40 percent of their income on rents, which has to be paid yearly in most cases. He stressed that the proposed scheme, will reduce housing deficit in the state. The commissioner said the government is in the process of holding discussion with various stakeholders in the private sector, including Contributory Pension Fund Administrators (CPFA) and other agencies of government.

Through this platform, the state, he said, will support competent private investors to have access to low-priced finance, probably through the price to cash flow ratio (PCF) so that they can build decent low-cost accommodation in vertical construction for the young and upcoming professionals.

Although, he did not give the number of units, Akinderu-Fatai, said more of the projects under this plan will be sited in the urban areas to ensure proximity to workplaces.

According to him, the agreement with the private developers will include a clause that support rentals of the proposed homes, which will be moderated by the government and payable monthly or quarterly.

“We are also working on the Model Mortgage Foreclosure Law to further reduce the risk of housing development in the state.”
Speaking on the proposed scheme, the chairman Lagos State branch of Nigerian Institute of Architects, Fitzgerald Umah, said the proposal is capable of changing the housing narrative, if the state can muster the political will to implement it to the letter.

On his part, vice chairman of Lagos State chapter of Nigerian Institute of Town planners, Mr. Lukman Oshodi, described the scheme as a welcome development. He also noted the importance of involving private sector in meeting the housing needs of the state.

In a related development, the Lagos State government has devolved powers to district officers of the state’s Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA).

The devolution of the powers was part of reforms to ease planning permit process and meet the 28-day approval target.
Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako, who disclosed this during a meeting with district officers at the LASPPPA headquarters, said the reforms are pivotal to realising the ideals of making Lagos a 21st century economy.

Salako stated that the officers were granted some level of planning permit approval powers as part of the reforms to ease the process. He said that the government had secured the commitment of the officers to comply with their approval limits, display high-level of competence and integrity as well as carry out their assigned duties with professionalism and diligence.

According to him, it was essential that officers interfacing with the people and acting on behalf of government lived up to expectations.
“We are confident that district officers, who are now the face of the government, will make good use of this opportunity and change the narratives to justify our commitment to a liveable, orderly and sustainable physical environment” he said.

The Commissioner urged the 30 district officers, who are domiciled in the councils to handle their assignment with honesty and seriousness it deserved, bearing in mind the implications of not getting it right.

Also, the special adviser to the Governor on Urban Development, Ganiyu Adele Ayuba, urged the officers to be on top of their game and justify the confidence reposed in them.

He added that they had no option than to succeed, as they were the mirrors through which the public perceived the government. The permanent secretary in the ministry, Foluso Dipe urged the officers to quicken their speed of delivery, which is important to the achievement of the 28-day target for processing permit in the state.

On her part, the general manager LASPPPA, Funmi Oshifuye enjoined the officers to be above board as anyone found wanting would be made to face disciplinary action.

Copied The Guardian.

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