Why we partnered with bank on affordable homes, by Lafarge chief

Lafarge WAPCOWITH the intention to meet the housing needs of the lower class of the Nigerian population, a leading cement manufacturer, Lafarge Africa, has sealed a partnership agreement with a microfinance bank, LAPO, for the purpose of building quality, and yet, affordable homes to would-be homeowners.

Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Africa, Peter Hoddinott, said because of his company passion for filling the wide gap of Nigerian housing deficit, it had undertaken an MOU with the financial bank to aid Nigerians in taking advantage of the offer.

Peter, who spoke to The Guardian in Lagos, recently reiterated the commitment of Lafarge Africa to provide a solution to housing deficit in Nigeria.

According to the Lafarge chief, anyone interested to key into the offer, can obtain loan at 1.6 per cent interest rate “Any interested individual can approach our partner where they will be assessed to obtain a loan. We are aiming to provide a house of 30 square metre with a total cost of less than N1.4m and we offer this in partnership with LAPO micro-finance so that we can provide a one-stop shop to help people build their dream home.

He added: “The aim is to have the widest proven range of any player in Nigeria able to meet the need of customers for each of their particular area of concern and desire.”

With its operation based in Lagos, South Africa and Benin, and with approximately 10.5m tons cement capacity in Africa, Hoddinott said his company had contributed largely to providing affordable housing units in the world.

Lafarge Africa, known as Lafarge Wapco, until recently, has been operating under three different ownerships including Ashakacem, Unicem, Wapco, which came together under one ownership.

Explaining the rationale of operating under one ownership, Hoddinott said: “ Lafarge is a new company formed from the previous Lafarge Wapco, comprises Wapco, Ashakacem, and Unicem, which together have about 8.5m tons of cement capacity. We are a national player and number six in the Nigeria stock exchange and we provide cement all over the country. In addition, we have division, which is one of its kinds in Nigeria that produces an international quality of ready mixed concrete. And this business has seven plants currently in parts of the country and we are currently building another five for 2016. We also have aggregate concrete in The South-West of the country with the expectation of growing aggregate business further.

“We are an international company and our parent, Lafargeholcim, is the largest aggregate and mixed concrete with international experience, including affordable housing. We have put together a package of affordable housing solutions all over sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia and Latin America, and our objective is to bring that to Nigeria so, the idea is; we should be able to provide a solution, which will enable people living in a formal accommodation in Nigeria, the dream and aspiration to create a permanent home for themselves and for their future generation.

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