President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Ayuba Wabba, on Tuesday in Abuja called for a realistic housing scheme that would enable workers afford houses in the country.
Wabba made the call at a two-day public hearing organised by House of Representatives Committee on Housing.
The hearing was sequel to the adoption of a motion on “the need for stakeholders to ensure full compliance with the National Housing Fund (NHF) Act for effective housing delivery in Nigeria’’.
“For us to address the issue of housing deficit, we must have an agreeable interest rate that is affordable to citizens and workers, if not the houses will be built and will not be affordable,’’ Wabba said.
He called on the Federal Government to intervene by providing the necessary funds required to drive the housing scheme in the country.
The NLC president, who decried the violation of the NHF Act by some stakeholders, added that failure of commercial banks to contribute to the fund also retarded progress of the scheme.
“The major issue has been the interest rate on the loan that is now available with our commercial banks.
“This has been a serious burden and cannot be called a mortgage,’’ he said.
He expressed worry that Nigerian workers could still not afford the houses in spite of putting in 2.5 per cent of their monthly salaries to have shelter.
“We actually keyed into the scheme but along the line in 2003 and 2004, we had challenges because the houses were built and workers could not afford them.
“The type of houses required were not the type built, so hundreds of houses are lying fallow in Abuja because nobody can afford them,’’ Wabba added.
He stressed the need to take the houses to rural areas to enable workers have access to them.