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Many houses unoccupied due to high cost ― Ashafa

The Managing Director and Chief Executive, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Senator Gbenga Ashafa, has blamed the huge number of unoccupied houses in Nigerian cities on the high price tags on them by developers.

This assertion was made by Ashafa during the unveiling of Express View Estate, a partnership between Federal Housing Authority Mortgage Bank (FHAMB) and Mixta Africa in Lugbe, Abuja.

Ashafa, who is also the Chairman Board of Directors, FHA Mortgage Bank, said these unoccupied houses, littering major high-brow neighbourhoods, have a negative effect on the present economic realities.

“If you go round, you will see a lot of unoccupied houses, due to the cost put on them by the developers and the negative effect of the present economic realities,” he said.

However, the managing director of FHA assured Nigerians that the Federal Government is committed to the provision of housing to all segments of the society.

Answering questions from reporters on the much-bandied 17 million housing deficit in Nigeria, Sen. Ashafa while applauding the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government in addressing the nation’s challenges, noted that there was no actual empirical data to back the housing deficit figures being claimed.

Making reference to the position of the Minister on the much-touted figure, Senator Ashafa said: “What the Minister of Works and Housing has been saying right from the onset, was that we have not been able to come up with a specific deficit figure.

“However, if you look at the project we are embarking on now, are we going to count the units as part of the houses in existence? What about the number of unoccupied houses everywhere, are we counting them?”

On the efforts of President Muhammadu’s administration in tackling the housing deficit, he said: “We know we have a lot of work to do but the Buhari administration is doing a lot to ensure that we reduce the housing deficit in the country.”

Continuing, the FHA’s managing director said: “In all the states of the federation, the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has been able to complete some estates, while others are nearing completion.

“It is part of the promise and manifesto of our party and promise of President Muhammadu Buhari. So, we are presently providing a number of houses for the low, medium and upper-income earners depending on the need and locations”

He announced that the 764 units of the Mass Affordable Housing Scheme in Zuba, Abuja would soon be completed and ready for commissioning.

Express View Estate is in partnership with MIXTA AFRICA. Sitting on about 1.5 hectares of land, the project is expected to deliver about 58 terrace duplexes of three bedrooms, serviced with Standard Infrastructure.

Congratulating MIXTA Africa on their choice to partner with FHA, Ashafa expressed hope that they would deliver a functional estate, while he promised a sustained partnership with the company. “This is the beginning of many good things between us. As you are finishing with this, other ones would follow,” Ashafa said.

Also speaking during the event, the Managing Director of FHA Mortgage Bank, Hayatudeen Awwal, expressed delight at the choice of MIXTA Africa for the project.

According to him, the entire project would be funded to deliver houses with ease.

“We carefully selected the partners. We would have commissioned the project but the mast on the plot of land delayed the process,” he said.

Executive Director Legal for Mixta Africa, Ugochukwu Ndubuisi, said the partnership was a welcome development as Mixta Africa takes pride in building communities.

“We have built properties in Lagos, Port Harcourt and now, we are in Abuja and we will use the Express View Estate project in Lugbe to showcase our capability. We will complete this project on time and move to other ones”, he concluded.

The Director, Mixta Africa, Sade Hughes in expressing delight at the partnership, said that as leaders in housing development in Africa, the company decided to expand their business to Nigeria, with this partnership with Federal Housing Authority Mortgage Bank, a subsidiary of FHA.

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