The Minister for Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), yesterday dismissed insinuations that Nigeria has 5 million housing deficit.
He said though Nigeria has housing challenges but added that the challenge is universal.
The minister addressed reporters in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, at the end of a capacity building workshop for Federal Controllers of lands and housing.
The theme of the training is: Learning and Development for Greater Stature.
Fashola also said the ministry had removed the mandatory 10 per cent equity contribution before accessing loan from the National Housing Funds (NHF).
He said: “First of all, I don’t believe in that 20 million housing deficit number. Nobody has owned up to it. It is a number of no origin; I say so. So, the person who did that data should come up and take ownership of it.
“But that is not to say that there is no housing challenge. We have it; every country in the world has it. Its level and degree is a function of so many things. It is perhaps more pronounced in the urban centres as it is in the rural areas. But even in the urban centres, there are still empty houses where there is a problem of shelter.
“What we are doing is to try and complete ongoing projects we met. We have started our own national housing programme. The idea is to design a product that Nigerians accept and can afford. One of the reasons we have a number of empty buildings and houses is that some of these buildings are acceptable or are not affordable, or both. So, we are trying to create a model that will be acceptable for the people.
“Some of the other thing we are doing is to grant funding for people who contribute to the National Housing Fund (NHF) by way of mortgage. That is happening.
“We are improving access by reducing the amount you have to contribute. Those who wanted to borrow up to N5 million, for example, their equity contribution was about 10 per cent.
“We know that some people will not have N500,000 to contribute and deposit. We have removed that. They can borrow, and what they should have contributed is now capitalised into what they will pay.
“That opens the door of access. You are not denied because you did not have the fund to self-contribute. We have also reduced the amount of which you are borrowing N5 million and above from 15 per cent down to about 10 per cent.”
On consents and title documentation, the minister said: “We are also dealing with backlogs of title documenting and transactions, such consent to transact land. This is also a barrier to access. If you cannot finish the documentation, you might probably not get the funding. If you don’t have the title, you might also be denied access to funding.
“So, we have those backlogs of consent and certificates of occupancy (C of Os). As at April 19, this year, we signed 2,400 certificates of occupancy; we issued 1,214 consents to transact business on land.
“These are many things, some of which have been pending since the 1990s. We are attacking housing challenge from many fronts.”