FHA’s new town project to provide affordable homes

The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) has provided a channel for respite for low income earners in the FCT as it is set to commence construction of 25,000 housing units under the FHA new town project. FRANCIS ADINOYI KADIRI writes that the hope for affordable shelter has come just as the Authority has secured all approvals necessary to the commencement of construction of the new town project

The proposed new town project of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) recentlyreceived a boost just as the FHA secured the needed statutory approvals for the take off of the project. The nod of relevant agencies responsible for land administration and development and necessary pre construction requirements have been secured for takeoff of the project.

Managing Director of the FHA, Arc Terver Gemade, who made this known to journalist in Abuja at the weekend said the authority is set to commence work on Abuja New Town Project he explained that work will soon start on the Federal Housing Authority’s Abuja New Town project in Bwari, just as the Authority said it would direct its efforts at providing affordable housing for low and medium income earners this year.

Gemade who made this known in Abuja during an inspection of the project site with members of hismanagement team, said houses in the new town would be affordable inevery sense of the word and would consist of a minimum of 25, 000 housing units.
While he said the experience in the past few years had underscored theurgency of the need to relieve the Abuja city centre of much of thepressure on its facilities and infrastructure, adding that the newtown project was aimed at providing decent and affordableaccommodation for the teeming population of the nation’s capital.

Gemade said enumeration had commenced and that compensation would be paid to those to be affected by the development in good time so that work would start in earnest by the middle of the year. He said the project, which would be delivered through direct construction and public private partnership would, on completion, haveits own independent power and water treatment plants.

The FHA boss further said the new town would consist mainly of one, two, three and four bedroom apartments in high rise structures, explaining that the recourse to such structures was to save cost on infrastructure and the serviced land.

On the Authority’s new focus on the construction of housing for low and medium income earners; he said FHA, looking beyond the pursuit of profit, was committed to contributing its quota to the realisation of the housing and job creation components of President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda. Towards that end, he said the Authority had acquired land in 17 states for the development of housing estates and that consultations were on with the Lagos state government on the titling of the Authority’s land holdings in the state.

Gemade said the emphasis on housing for low and medium income earners was informed by the need to cater for the more vulnerable segment of the population and as a way to assist the government in combating crime, disease, unemployment and other economic difficulties facing the people.

He said FHA had been a major player in the effort to deliver to the nation, a modern capital city and that the Authority had delivered no fewer than 15, 000 housing units in the FCT, adding that work was progressing satisfactorily at the Authority’s newsite at Apo in the Gudu District of Abuja where about 1,300 housingunits are expected to be delivered through direct construction by theFHA and by partnership with private sector operators.

The FHA chief executive said the Authority had plans to open more of such new towns in Kwali, Kuje and other satellite towns of Abuja in order to accelerate the pace at which the deficit is been overcome.

It will be recalled that the FHA had adopted founding and development of new towns across the nation as a strategy for housing provision. Although the project is in key cities across the country, its pilot phase is the Bwari new town project, which construction is set to commence soon.

According to Gemade, “the new towns will reduce pressure on the existing cities by providing additional accommodation at affordable rates.

“The Bwari Area Council has been identified for development of a new town in Abuja and land acquisition is in progress.  A total of 25,000 housing units are targeted under the Abuja New Town.”

Other strategies being put in place to address the current housing deficit are direct development which will be done by utilizing internally generated resources and institutional financing of projects to be executed by the Authority.

A total of 12,000 housing units are targeted through this delivery model. Through public – private partnership, the FHA says it will foster partnerships which are profitable and cost effective, leveraging on the strength of the private sector partners in project financing, financial prudence and effective management.  About 14,000 housing units are targeted for delivery through thepublic private partnership.

In furtherance of the quest to perform its responsibility of providing homes, the FHA also put in place the public – public partnership, a system of partnership with other tiers of government, MDAs, military and para-military organizations to facilitate housing delivery that meet the needs of their staff.  A total of 4,000 housing units are targeted for delivery through the public-public Partnership strategy.

“The Authority will partner with housing cooperatives to facilitate housing delivery for the needs of their members.  About 8,000 housing units are targeted for delivery through this model.”

According to the Authority, further provision of homes will be achieved through sites and services. Site andserviceswill be made available within estates to be developed for site and services.  Additionally, site and services will be provided on parcels of land to be acquired to create serviced plots that will be sold to citizens who desire to build their own houses.  According to Gemade, 7,000 serviced plots will be provided under site and services.

He said rental housing and estate regeneration are also strategies which will be implemented toward provision of homes for Nigerians. In addition to the development of housing units for outright sale to the public, the Authority will providerental housing for low income dwellers in the cities.  3,000 housing units will be provided for rental housing in the period under consideration.
While saying that estate regeneration, i.e., regeneration of old estates will be pursued in partnership with private investors.

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