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FHA, others seek tax incentives for investors in millennials home schemes

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Senator Gbenga Ashafa PHOTO: TWITTER/ NIGERIAN SENATE

To mitigate the burden of housing Nigerians, the Federal Government has been urged to provide tax incentives, grants or waivers for private estate developers engaged in providing millennial homes.

The Managing Director, Federal Housing Authority, (FHA) Senator ‘Gbenga Ashafa, made the plea at the Avalon Daily Policy Dialogue on National Housing titled, “Homeownership for young and hardworking Nigerians.”

He called on stakeholders in the financial services to develop better ways of helping Nigerians, particularly young people to build credit worthiness for housing finance.

Ashafa, who was the keynote speaker, said the policy should be integrated into a mortgage framework that allows inclusion of people who are employed, but earn lower salaries.

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He said a specialised funding should be made available to developers at single digit interest rate to reduce unit cost per house developed under the scheme.

He said with the huge demand for houses, there was the need to ensure affordability, functionality and smart homes.

However, he said the issue could be adequately tackled through sound policy, ‘strong political will’ and effective collaboration of all stakeholders.

The former permanent secretary, Lagos State Lands Bureau emphasised that housing and mortgage in Nigeria, has to be reformed and made accessible while de-emphasising one-off payments in the real estate sector.

He charged young people to avail themselves of the options provided by the National Housing Fund (NHF), through the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria as well as primary mortgage banks to own a home.

He disclosed that FHA has repositioned itself and adopted a bridge model, whereby it leverages the availability of land in some of the fast growing satellite towns while maximising space wherever lands are available in the city centres.

“We will continue to ensure that housing units provided under our mandate are delivered at cost-friendly prices and remained affordable to Nigerians,” Ashafa said.

In his submission, the Chief Executive Officer, Bungalow, a home finance firm, Mr. Kelechi Nwokocha, called for policies that enhance administrative process associated with owning a home especially, requirements for getting approval, the need for database for properties and other registration challenges.

He advised authorities to mitigate issues in the housing sector in terms of high cost of land, exhorbitant land use charges and bureaucracy associated with settling property disputes in court.

Nwokocha also said there was need for fiancé education for the people to know about the consequences of not paying back loans, as accountability is key in the credit space.

Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of Kwaba, a flexible rent payment platform, Mr. Obinna Molokwu, stressed need for more government schemes and policies that provide affordable housing, adding that more cheaper funds to build low-income housing units.

Molokwu stated the need to reduce the high interest rate on loans, drive inflation down and the overall risks in the housing market.

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