By Dipo Olowookere
In fulfilment of his campaign promise that his administration would come up with a new housing policy that will make all residents in the state have access to shelter irrespective of their social status, tribe or income, Lagos State government has unveiled affordable housing units spread across the three Senatorial Districts.
Speaking at the unveiling of the new housing policy in Epe, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode stated that the policy was in line with the set objectives of his administration to make life more comfortable and easy for all Lagosians irrespective of their status, tribe or level of income.
He said the initiative, tagged ‘Rent-To-Own and Rental Housing Policy’ represented an improvement on the Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme inherited from the previous administration, under which a beneficiary was required to make an initial payment of 30% as equity contribution with monthly payment of the balance spread over a period of 10 years.
The Governor, who was represented at the event by his Deputy, Dr Idiat Oluranti Adebule expressed happiness that the new housing policy would benefit low income earners, traders and the general masses, adding that the feedback from the general public on the previous Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme indicated that there was a need to review the former policy such that more people will have the opportunity to participate in the process.
Mr Ambode disclosed that government has put necessary measures in place to ensure total transparency in the procedure and allocation of flats to prospective owners, warning members of the public to follow the normal guideline and not pay a dime to any individual or agent as bribe, stating that the scheme is aimed at alleviating the housing problem of the masses and not a way of extorting them.
“I want to assure the people of Lagos State that the selection process will be credible, fair and transparent, you therefore don’t need to know anyone in government to apply for the home ownership programme,” he emphasised.
While explaining the various benefits of the new affordable housing policy, the Governor noted that prospective beneficiaries are free to choose between the Rent- To- Own and the Rental Housing arrangements, stressing that “Under the Rent to Own arrangement, beneficiaries are to pay only 5% of the value of the housing unit as commitment fee with the balance spread over 10 years while on the other hand, beneficiaries of the Rental Housing policy are required to be regular income earners who are to pay just an initial one month rent as deposit and move to occupy the house on lease agreement.”
He revealed that 80% of the available housing units will be operated under Rent-to- Own arrangement to enable the general masses enjoy its full benefits while the remaining 20% will be dedicated to Rental Housing, adding that, “I have directed Ministry of Housing and other relevant agencies to ensure there is full disclosure of information that will guide the general public in making their choices.”
Mr Ambode maintained that the implementation of the new housing policy will take off with the unveiling of more than 1,000 housing units in Epe, Agbowa, Ojokoro and Ikorodu.
Earlier, Commissioner for Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal explained that the new housing policy is in line with the desire of the present administration to provide affordable accommodation to all residents of the State.
He declared that since access to decent and affordable houses remain a very big challenge to many Lagosians especially under the current economic recession in the country, it is the policy thrust of the present administration to ensure that many public officers, employees of organised private sector, artisans and the general masses benefit from the affordable housing policy as a way of bringing dividends of democracy to their door step.
The Commissioner averred that the State Government has concluded plans to continue to engage the services of facility managers to ensure that the estates are well maintained and kept clean at all times.
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