24 December 2012

Nigeria: Money Bags 'Ll Not Hijack New Lagos Mortgage Scheme - Jeje

The Lagos State Government has concluded plans to commence its Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme, HOMS, in the first quarter of next year.

HOMS is an initiative of the State Government aimed at ameliorating housing challenge in Lagos metropolis Lagos State Commissioner for Housing, Mr. Bosun Jeje told newsmen at a media parley last week that everything required to kick-start the scheme had been concluded.

"HOMS is already on ground; we are about to start. HOMS is a mortgage scheme conceived by the state to address the question of affordable housing in the state. The essence of the scheme is to ensure that the houses being built by the government are sold to Lagos residents. With the HOMS system, subscribers are expected to pay for their houses between 15 and 20 years," Mr. Jeje explained.

Continuing, he said: "We have realized that it is the duty of the government to provide accommodation for Lagos residents, hence the government is not thinking about making profit from the houses it is building, but to make them affordable as much as possible for the generality of the residents".

"Our target is to provide houses for all Lagos residents. The exercise will be a continuous one that is why I cannot say this is our exact target. We have not commenced the scheme yet, so, people have not yet subscribed. We are still in the process of starting.

"We will try to make sure that 'money bags' will not hijack the houses to be sold under HOMS. We will make sure that one subscriber cannot subscribe for more than one housing type, and no individual can get more than one allocation", he stated.

The Commissioner disclosed that his ministry spent N20 billion on housing provision this year. He pointed some completed and ongoing estates development by the housing ministry. They include the estates at Sangotedo, Shitta in Surulere, Shogunroye in Ogba, Omole 1, Omole 2, Magodo 1, Igbogbo in Ikorodu, Iloro and Oba Adegorowa among many others.

"We have many more estates coming up in the state. One of them is at Badia. They are aimed at solving housing challenge in the state. Lagos, being a megacity, housing is always a challenge, that is why the state government has taken the bull by the horn to address the housing problems as we are currently doing. Some of these estates have been completed while others are at their various stages of completion. There are still more to be constructed in the 2013. It is a problem that has to be constantly addressed, and we have started," he said.

The commissioner said the government has also created the enabling environment for private investors to invest housing production. "There is a PPP department in our Ministry as well as the Governor's office because the government cannot do it alone. We have to involve the private sector, and we have to create the enabling environment and conducive atmosphere for them to invest in real estate in the state.

What the government is doing now is a stop gap measure. The private sector will eventually take over the provision of housing in the state, but as it is now, government cannot leave it for the private sector. That is why the government is doing it now, and at the same time creating the enabling environment for the private sector to take over", he said.

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