In what could be the most ambitious public sector- led initiative to tackle the overwhelming housing crisis facing the country, two top federal agencies are driving a major new residential scheme targeted to yield a total of 15,680 housing units by 2018.
Up to N2.5 trillion in sales revenue is expected as inflow from Nigerians abroad and project is estimated to cost N236billion. Facilitated by the office of the Vice President with Federal Housing Authority (FHA) as developer/owner; the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) serves as promoter.
If the scheme christened FHA Diaspora City project eventually seen through to completion, it will probably rank among the most visible fall-outs of the Buhari administration’s move to provide a non-oil window for sustainable flow of foreign exchange of at least $10 billion annually to the economy.
With the paucity of foreign exchange in the country and remittances from Nigerians in diaspora are seen as huge opportunities for banks and developers. Statistics show that individual remittances stood at $21billion in 2013, $25bn in 2015 and such secured housing programme in place, it can be as much as $35billion.
Essentially, the pilot project would commence in four Nigerian cities, namely, Abuja, Benin, Port Harcourt and Lagos in this year while the second phase of the project would start in Enugu, Kaduna, Asaba and Ibadan in 2018.
FHA Managing Director, Prof Mohammed Al-Amin who confirmed the development in Abuja, observed that there are over 15 million Nigerians in the Diaspora.
He said that the project is designed to provide a secured and sustainable home ownership for Nigerians living and working outside the country as well as workers of Nigerian Diplomatic Missions.
Al-min said that ICPC has the responsibility to strengthen systems to enable them work efficiently, adding that a Project management TSA has been opened and construction mortgage finance account would be domiciled at FHA Mortgage Bank.
He explained that the Office of the Vice President has promised to facilitate a quick allocation of 200-1,000 hectares by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) in favourable locations for the pilot project in Abuja and also facilitate free and secured remittances of installment payments from Diaspora off-takers through a specialised account approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The Chairman of ICPC, Mr. Ekpo Nta, observed that ICPC plans to do a security check on the project beneficiaries said, “If the total foreign reserves of Nigeria as of last month was $30 billion for the whole country, and a group of persons are sending $25 billion, you don’t ignore that kind of group”.
According to Nta, “ When you break down these monies that they sent home, its generally to secure accommodation for themselves either by building through relations or developers, to give allowances to their parents, or to start up businesses and in all three, the findings I had through my organisation was that their aspirations were not met”.
“Most of the monies meant for building, if they wanted a duplex, the people would deliberately build stores and when they come, they say it’s not what they want and those who built it will take it away just like that. And sometimes these people create artificial security problem so that those in diaspora don’t even come home to ask about the monies they sent. For the brave ones that decided to come home, they were kidnapped and when released they didn’t come back home again.”
Culled from The Guardian