HOUSING: LAGOS LAWMAKERS ADVOCATE PRIORITY FOR CIVIL SERVANTS IN SCHEMES

Lawmakers at the Lagos State House of Assembly have urged the Ministry of Housing and the Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme, LAGOSHOMS, to give more priority to civil servants in the State.

The Chairman, House Committee on Housing, Hon. Rasheed Makinde, made this call at a familiarisation visit with other members of the committee to the Ministry of Housing and LAGOSHOMS recently.

Hon. Makinde advised that the Housing scheme which is the government’s initiative to create home owners in Lagos through sustained mortgage schemes by LAGOSHOMS and the Ministry of Housing should give more consideration to Lagos State workforce by ensuring that 70% of the homes are allocated to civil servants.

“The fear of many civil servants is life after retirement and the government can ease some of that fear by ensuring that they are home owners before their retirement; then we need to look into advocating that some of their struggles in life after service are limited,” he said.

In his remark, the General Manager of LAGOSHOMS, Mr. Bayowa Forsythe, reiterated that the mandate of the agency is to reduce housing deficit in the State and to energise investment in home ownership by increasing the supply of homes.

“The agency was created in 2014 and since its creation, it has started with various schemes such as that of Ilupeju with 120 units, 96 units in Ogba mortgage scheme and 336 units in Epe while the agency is currently on Igbogbo scheme in Ikorodu.

“These units are accessible to qualified Lagos residents and they can apply without the need to lobby anyone,” he emphasised.

Mr. Forsythe also disclosed that the agency is in need of support in the area of supply which is low, to further reduce the housing deficit of about four million.

“The Ministry of Housing is in charge of building the homes and we allocate based on debt-to-income ratio by carrying out an affordability test as any person filling an application for LAGOSHOMS must not spend beyond 30% of their income,” he explained.

He further suggested that the Rent-to-Own scheme should be given more priority than people buying outrightly as the homes have no value if it is bought outrightly.

“Payment in installment will help bridge the property deficit ladder and ensure that the Lagos State Government lives up to its social obligation to provide affordable shelter to its citizens,” he maintained.

Commending the agency for its good work, Hon. Bisi Yusuff, a member of the Committee, said that though the agency does not have the right to build, it can, however, influence individuals to apply and enlighten them on the best scheme to choose from.

He also urged that advantage should be taken of the influx of application database to influence the building of more homes.

Hon. Makinde maintained at the Ministry of Housing that the Speaker, Rt. Hon. (Dr.) Mudashiru Obasa, through the committee, is passionate about the level of housing deficit in the State; hence, the visitation by the members to acquaint themselves with the ministry’s performing mandate given to it by the State Government as well as its challenges in expending its pbudget to bridge the gap on housing in the State.

The Commissioner for the Ministry of Housing, Hon. Akinderu Fatai, conformed that the ministry has been able to commission seven housing schemes within the State in areas such as Igando, Lekki, Iponri, Idale and Igbogbo and most of them have already been allocated.

The committee, however, showed displeasure over some of the abandoned housing schemes, explaining that some of the abandoned homes have become hideouts for miscreants.

It charged the ministry to take action on such abandoned sites.

Other members of the committee on the visitation tour are: Hon. Nureni Akinsaya and Hon. Desmond Elliot.

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