Enugu State Government has said it is determined to provide shelter for prospective homeowners in the state, saying it will deliver about 1,500 housing units for low and middle-income earners before the end of the year.
General Manager of the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation (ENSHDC), Chiemelie Agu, told The Guardian that having built 10 estates for the rich, government was now focused on providing affordable housing for low-income earners, including civil servants in the state.
To buttress the commitment of the state government in this regard, he stated that housing construction had started at the Coal City View estate at Ugwuonyema for the construction of the first phase of 100 units of one bedroom, two and three bedroom apartments.
Agu stated that the intention of government at the Coal City View Estate was to provide 750 housing units, assuring that it would be completed before the end of the administration.
He added that the government had also secured approval for a N1.8 billion facility from Family Home Funds to build 500 units affordable houses at Nsukka, adding that another site had being cleared opposite Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUTH) for the construction of 250 units.
He said: “You know because of the income of civil servants, if you don’t give them a helping hand, they will not be able to build houses during their career. We agreed to provide an elongated payment plan through mortgage so that they can pay back mortgage loans within 20 or 25 years, depending on their profiling.
“Accommodation will soon be a thing of the past in the next six months. That is my promise. We are developing houses that are affordable. We had built for the rich in WTC Estate, Citadel, Rangers Estate, Valley Estate, Heritage Estate, among others. At WTC,we sold for N10 million and after two years, it is N75 million.
“The same goes for Citadel; we sold N20 million and today it is N60 million and so many other places. We have done well in this area but the attention now is on the low-income earners. They are part of us
He added that the intention of the government was that a percentage of the salary of benefitting civil servants would be deducted monthly to offset cost of the buildings, stressing that it was diligence and commitment of the state government that helped it secure the facility.
He said that sensitisation had commenced with leaders of various labour unions and workers’ cooperatives to enable them understand intention of government and key into the initiative.
On why cost of housing has continued to increase beyond reach of the average Nigerians, Agu stated that it had to do with cost of building materials such as cement, iron rods, among others.
“It is a Federal Government issue that should be addressed. Governjment should begin by giving duty waivers, tax rebate to producers or importers of essential building materials because when these items are cheap, you can now have affordable housing. When it is high, houses is bound to be high because you cannot tell a developer to build and sell at a lower rate,” he said.