By Omolara Otuyemi
“The current and projected future population of our State presents huge opportunities for investors in the housing sector and compelling need for urban renewal” – Governor Sanwo-Olu
Lagos’ status as the economic, industrial and commercial hub of the country is partly responsible for the daily migration of people from various walks of life to the metropolis.
A recent data states that about 25,000 people from across the world come into Lagos for various reasons on a daily basis. This, no doubt, is a factor in the city’s growing population.
In spite of its small landmass, Lagos is the most populated State in the country.
One striking challenge of the State’s huge population is the availability of affordable housing. Clearly, the State’s sporadic growth has not been proportionate with the housing stock available to the residents.
It is, therefore, in order to address the challenge that the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration took a larger part of his first 200 days in office to understudy the model that would meet the housing needs of the residents of the State.
Having successfully completed the study, the government devised strategies to frontally address the state’s unique housing challenge.
One of such was a resolve to ensure that none of the inherited housing projects from preceding administrations is abandoned. The goal is to build on their achievements and guarantee that the government’ investments on those projects are not wasted, as it used to be in time past.
Some of the projects in this class include the Igando, Igbogbo, Sangotedo, Ajara, Egan-Igando, LASU main Campus, Iba, Sangotedo and Epe Housing Schemes to mention but a few.
Consequently, the LagosHoms, Igbogbo Scheme, with 360 home units comprising 120 1-bedroom, 120 2-bedroom and 120 3-bedroom apartments, was completed and commissioned by the Sanwo-Olu administration.
Similarly, the Lagos State Affordable Public Housing Scheme, Topo, Badagry with 252 2-bedroom apartments, Courtland Villas, Behind Alhaji Femi Okunnu Estate, Igbohushu, Lekki with 120 units of 4-bedroom Maisonettes and Boys Quarters and the Lekki Apartments, Ikate-Eleguishi, Lekki were also completed and commissioned by the current administration.
Perhaps, the most significant highlight of the Sanwo-Olu led administration in the housing sector, thus far, is in handing over of keys to 492 keys beneficiaries of its maiden rent-to-own housing scheme at the Lateef Kayode Jakande Housing Estate, Igando.
The rent-to-own policy reflects the commitment of the government to reduce the housing deficit in the State. The initiative is part of the holistic plan to make housing affordable, and easy to get, especially for low-income earners.
Although the initiative predates the current administration, it has done a lot to modify its operation in order to meet current realities. Hence, the entry requirements, which used to be more stringent, have now been reduced to draw more people into the homeownership scheme.
The rent-to-own scheme allows a first-time house owner, who is a resident of the State, to pay only 5 per cent of the cost of the house, while the rest of the cost is spread over 10 years on a monthly instalment at a rate not more than 33 per cent of the individual’s income.
The cheering development about the housing project is that it has a job creation component. Besides the main and sub-contractors, numerous artisans, labourers, suppliers and food vendors are also effectively engaged and earning a living from these projects.
The second strategy evolved by the government to tackle the State’s housing deficit is the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model. The main aim of the PPP is to deliver high quality, cost-efficient yet affordable housing in Lagos State.
The PPP option involves the government providing lands for private investors at a subsidized rate, while the investors construct affordable housing units.
Through this model, over 30 private investors are in joint partnership with the government with a strong legal bond that upon completion of the housing project, the private investor would allocate to the State the agreed number of housing that is proportionate to the cost of land given to the investors by the government and a percentage of the profit.
In the past, the PPP model had some challenges spanning from lack of transparency and inability to deliver.
But the Sanwo-Olu administration is bent on making more residents house owners in the State through the model.
Investors and the government have duly played their part in making the provision of the housing scheme a reality by enforcing timeliness to ensure timely delivery, validation and inspection of the site to ensure it measures up with agreed specification.
In order to encourage more residents of the State to embrace the mortgage fiancé option, the State government recently made the Lagos Building Investment Company (LBIC) a solitary mortgage provider to ease housing deficit in the State.
The LBIC has made available over 20,000 mortgage homes across the state through the provision of a friendly mortgage payment to prospective homeowners.
Also, the government, in conjunction with Arctic Infrastructure and Heinrich Boll Stifung, has examined the prospect of the proposed Lagos State Affordable Housing Trust Fund in order to develop a financing mechanism that addresses the peculiar status of the State.
This is aimed at strengthening the machinery for increasing the stock of homes in the State.
Considering its efforts, thus far, the current administration is convinced that the total housing stock would have increased by December 2020, to 3004 housing units with the delivery of additional housing schemes comprising 2268 units that are already completed.
The journey to making Lagos a 21st-century economy, no doubt, partly lies in its urban renewal programmes.
Certainly, the ability of the Sanwo-Olu administration to offer Lagos residents access to environmentally friendly and affordable homes is a pathway to creating more economic opportunities to the citizenry.
Otuyemi is of the Features Unit, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja