APC, PDP present agenda on mass housing

THE All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday insisted that unless there is a land reform, it would be impossible to meet the housing requirements of the citizenry.

   At an event organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in Abuja on the theme: “The Challenges of Housing, Water and Power Supply in Nigeria: What is the Master Plan?” the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, argued that the subsisting Land Use Act does not encourage a massive housing scheme for Nigerians.

   Mohammed argued that a land reform enabling freeholds and leaseholds would surely promote a social housing scheme affordable to the citizenry. 

   Recalling how some states refused to accept the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) housing for all policy due to constraints over land availability at the time, he assured that an APC-led government would create an enabling environment for mass housing through the provision of infrastructure like access roads, water and electricity.

   Acknowledging that there is a housing deficit in the country to the tune of 17 million houses, he promised that under an APC led administration, there would be a robust mortgage market that would not only make monies available but would abrogate the requirement that governors must give consent on title transfer spelt out in the Land use Act. 

   The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), represented at the event by one of its chieftain, Dr. Katchi Ononuju, rather than hold his party responsible for the housing deficit, said decades of bad governance under the military should be blamed for the appalling situation in the sector.

   He explained that under President Jonathan’s administration, about $50 million mortgage floated bond had been raised to develop 200,000 housing units across the country for Nigerians at zero percent interest rate under the “rent and own your house” scheme spanning up to 20 years.

   Expressing the fear that calls for the repeal of the Land Use Act could hit the brick wall as is the case now with the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), he disclosed that critical stakeholders including 18 governors have keyed into the mass housing scheme handled by the national mortgage refinancing scheme.

   Pointing at the drastic reduction in the price of cement as an instance of success recorded to cut down the housing deficit, he explained that the resolve by the PDP led administration to grant 5 -7 years waivers and tax credits to importers of building materials was in line with its resolve to make housing available to Nigerians.

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