Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance on Thursday announced that the Federal Government has officially started the first phase of its 10,000 housing units under the Affordable Home Ownership Scheme.
The minister while speaking with Punch correspondent at the inauguration of the scheme in Abuja revealed that the project will be handled by the newly established Nigerian Mortgage Refinancing Company.
She said the project will avail Nigerians the opportunity to own their own houses at a very affordable rates, adding that even low income earners would be allowed to own their houses under a flexible payment package.
The Minister of Finance pointed out that through this scheme, the process of owning houses had been simplified unlike in the past when it was difficult for Nigerians to own their houses through affordable mortgages.
Okonjo-Iweala further revealed that under the new structure, the processing time for application for the mass housing project had been reduced from between six and 18 months to just six weeks. She expressed optimism that with the inauguration of the NMRC in January and its successive take off in June, the bottleneck in getting finance to develop accessible and affordable housing in the country had been removed.
“We want Nigerians to own their houses at affordable costs. The NMRC’s mission is to provide long-term funding for the housing sector. Since the ability of banks in providing mortgages is limited by the fact that 80 per cent of all the deposits are on 30-day period, which does not ensure great level of sustainability in providing resources for the housing sector, the NMRC is here to ensure greater access to financing of up to 10 to 15 years. So, instead of people not being able to own houses as they would have to pay up in 12 or 18 months; we are changing that now so that for 10 to 15 years, people can be able to pay for their own houses” she said.
However, it was gathered that under the scheme, a unit of two-bedroom apartment might be sold for between N4.5m and N7.5m, depending on the location; while the three-bedroom apartment would be sold from N8m.