By Grace Alegba
No fewer than 3,000 residents have so far benefited from the Lagos State Government’s Rent-To-Own schemes, according to the Commissioner for Housing, Mr Gbolahan Lawal.
Lawal said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the state’s housing policies captured both those in the formal and informal sectors.
He said that the informal sector constituted about 65 per cent of the population of the state and that a mechanism had been put in place to determine their incomes and eligibility for the homes.
“All our estates are for everybody irrespective of your status. We have special consideration for Lagosians and we have accommodation for all categories of people in Lagos.
“My Christmas promise will be achieved for those prospective buyers who have applied for Gbagada, Igbogbo, Amuwo Odofin, Sangotedo Phase 1 houses. Celebrating Christmas in their new homes is feasible.
“It is important to also use this medium to let Lagosians know that we are committed to completing all the projects we met on ground and we are also building new ones.
“So far over 3,000 Lagosians are now beneficiaries of our Rent-to-Own Scheme,’’ he said.
The commissioner said the housing deficit of about 2.5 million was huge, adding that the various sustainable efforts were underway including an affordable housing trust fund to be inaugurated soon.
He said that the initiative would be unveiled before the expiration of Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration in May 2019 which would give cooperative societies ample opportunities to take part in housing finance.
Lawal disclosed that the ministry took over 27 housing estates at various stages of between 20 and 60 per cent completion from the last administration which needed more resources to complete.
He said Ambode administration also met a mortgage system on ground which had been reviewed downward because most applicants could not afford the 30 per cent down payment.
“The state government introduced the Rent-To-Own scheme where beneficiaries are required to pay only five per cent of the cost of building as commitment fee while the balance is spread over a period of 10 years.
“A recent study revealed that the housing deficit for Lagos is 2.5 million and the government also found out that it will take 187,500 housing units yearly for five years to bridge the gap.
“The government of Lagos State alone cannot bridge the existing gap and so we decided to come up with Lagos State Affordable Public Housing and that is working with the private sector as a joint venture initiative.
“Government contribution is land, then all the statutory charges, the permits, will also be part of the government’s equity while the private sector will come up with the technical expertise, the finance and all that are geared towards the supply side. The Rent-to-Own is the demand side,’’ he told NAN.
On the various estates, Lawal said the Igando Gardens which has 492 units was more than 90 per cent completed and that the sewage would be fixed before delivery.
“Gbagada Estate is over 95 per cent completed while Igbogbo in Ikorodu which has 360 units is at 85 per cent completion. Amuwo Odofin Estate which has 84 units has been completed and will be handed over in few weeks to allottees.
“Akerele Estate in Surulere has only two blocks and the beneficiaries are already moving into their houses.
“Sangotedo Estate in Lekki has 1,118 units and is at an advanced stage of completion and Phase 1 is above 80 per cent completed; the water and sewage will be ready before the end of September,’’ the commissioner said.
On the Egan/Igando Estate in Alimosho council area which was started by the Bola Tinubu administration, he said efforts were on to rehabilitate and complete the houses after successful integrity tests of the buildings, adding that a major road leading to the estate had been constructed.
“Before May 2019, we should be able to hand over keys to the allottees.’’