FHA and PPP Revolution In Nigeria, By Abubakar yusuf

Managing Director, FHA, Senator Gbenga Ashafa

FHA and PPP Revolution In Nigeria, By Abubakar yusuf

Since the globally coined Public Private Partnership PPP arrangements that occasioned synergy between the public service and private entities, particularly organised private sector, the Federal Housing Authority FHA under it’s housing programs had embraced the new parlance over two decades and beyond mere nomenclature, keyed into the practice and practical implementation of the laudable arrangements in the country since 2000.

As the official sole provider of houses for public and ordinary Nigerians, the agency had penultimate provided such arrangements that had metamorphosed in the six geopolitical zones, including the Federal Capital Territory FCT, with quantum and quality of affordable houses to Nigerians, in line with it’s mandate and now obsolete act , as well as synergy with the global and local investors that thrived in the provision of houses across length and breadth of Nigeria.

What this means was that the PPP initiatives of FHA that debuted in states like Rivers, (Port Harcourt), Lagos, Ibadan, Imo, Kaduna, Abuja , the nation’s capital city among many others states in the last decades had metamorphosed and transformed to full fledged activities in the current Federal Housing Authority, FHA, under the leadership of Senator Gbenga Ashafa.

Cumulatively in the early days of PPP in FHA , in spite of the outdated act desiring amendments and needed reforms which the current leadership had tackled headlong both at the National Assembly and administratively, the agency achieved over 1,500 housing units yearly, in comparison to the pronounced official figure of 1,000 in a year in 2023, over two decades away.

Combining the PPP arrangements with other modest innovations by the successive management sustained by the current leadership, using site and service, direct construction and the globally acceptable PPP arrangements, the authority had transcended beyond mere pronouncements with practical realities that had achieved over 1,500 yearly, without subvention and grappling with obsolete act that needed amendments and modest reforms.

The leverage of the current management under Senator Gbenga Ashafa as a former Senator and lawmaker, administrator and his bureaucratic exposure in land matters spanned decades, having handled such gigantic assignment in the cosmopolitan Lagos state, which made the immediate past administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari prevailed on his engagement and preference, that enabled him achieved his agenda of mass housing for all Nigerians,as part of his campaign manifestos, and to also key into the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, with the needed legal and administrative reforms which have been initiated in the last three years and nearing completion.

All these, according to Senator Gbenga Ashafa who met a moribund FHA with dilapidated working tools and structures, demoralized workforce with backlog of promotions and grossly understaffed authority, was reverted to optimum function within a year on assumption of office.

This was coming from an agency without subvention over the decades and budgetary provision in line with it’s act, but acted under the discretion and arrangements of a competitive market were the private sector that had access to unfettered fund both locally and internationally held sway.

What it means is without legal encumbrances, FHA as the sole agency charged with the provision of mass and affordable houses for Nigerians will be able to assess bonds, approach capital market to mop up funds with a view to meeting not only the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians in the area of housing, bridge housing deficits, but surpassing the global and local provision of houses beyond the required 50, 000 units annually.

Piloting the affairs of the authority adequately and administratively, Senator Gbenga Ashafa’s reform policy commenced with the land reclamation program that left the FHA lands and properties porous and the mercy of shylock land grabbers across the country, had yielded results and envisaged reforms deploying administrative and legal means to achieve these objectives.

Many Nigerians particularly in Lagos and Abuja had turned FHA lands to free and green honey, making billions from it’s illegal occupation both at night and weekends, through forgery of it’s documents and forceful means as well as other any subtle guise, with some using the two main religion, Christianity and Islam to acquire it’s Lands, the negative development and retrieval process was upped that led to recovery of Multi Billion assets of FHA Lands/ properties.

In spite it’s obvious constraints, the management ensured more housing development and initiatives across the country both at it’s estates in Lagos at Festac Town, Abesan , one to five, FHA Lugbe and Gwarimpa among many others in the country was on course.

It constructed and completed with government support and intervention the 748 Zuba mass housing estate which included the introduction of ‘Rent to Own’, and also plucked back it’s investments in the oversubscribed Zuba with standard facilities provided to the ongoing Bwari Mass Housing Estate, that had opened up the area housing many government establishments, due for sales, having acquired of over 250 Hectares of Land for more construction.

The FHA advancing it’s PPP arrangements also reclaimed the over 200 hectares Federal Housing Authority FHA estate at Mbora, and commenced construction of over 1,000 houses with the ground breaking ceremony carried out during the Golden Jubilee anniversary in 2023.

The Management has also acquired land of about 700 hectares in Kabusu district(maitama ii extension) of the FCT to construct the ‘Diaspora smart city’ with over 17, 000 housing units to be launched before the end of the first quarter in 2024 .

This was in addition to provision of 2,000 houses known as “Renewed Hope Estates” each in the six geopolitical zones in the country, within the year to address more housing problems in view of the global requirements.

Construction and occupation was already ongoing at it’s ENL estate in Guzape, Express view in Lugbe, Osun, Oyo, Rivers , imo, among other states with already acquired Lands.

This was encouraged by the new administration of Renewed Hope Agenda with a promise to surpass the 50,000 units houses to Nigerians annually, but a target of 100,000 units gauging the administration’s willingness to invest and support the transformation agenda of Senator Gbenga Ashafa at FHA.

With the glaring supports and promises of the global bodies, experts and professionals like AUHF, Shelter Afrique Development Bank that declared it’s intentions to invest about $40M into Nigeria’s housing development in 2024, during the celebration of the 50th anniversary and Golden Jubilee in 2023, and with needed supports and enabling environment from the supervising Ministry through synergy, supervision and unfettered access to it’s activities, no doubt the current leadership will take FHA to a comfortable achieving of over 100,000 Housing units annually, ahead of the target of the supervising Ministry’s 50, 000 houses to be built annually.

The FHA Mortgage Bank FHAMB rated as one of the best Primary Mortgage institution PMI by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria FMBN, as a result of the reforms been carried out under Senator Gbenga Ashafa is already positioned to do more for the off takers under National Housing fund NHF subscribers, and with access to 25% equity in Pension Commission PENCOM.

The last three years reforms in the Bank has yielded results in many folds, resulting in the resuscitation, provision of robust mortgages and expansion of it’s offices, management and activities.

Aside the Corporate office, FHAMB had opened up many branches and introduced products that attracted civil servants, farmers , business men and artisans as well as physically challenged person’s across the country.

On many occasions, the Bank handed over completed houses to many professionals including medical doctors and personnel, that had discouraged the syndrome of ‘JAPA’ prevalent across African nations with Nigerian not in exception.

The ground breaking ceremony of a multi million naira new corporate headquarters recently launched by the Managing Director, Chief Executive officer CEO Federal Housing Authority FHA, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, was an indicator of the Bank’s readiness to deliver and improve on its mandate and retail banking in line with the global practices.

The proposed presentation of keys to beneficiaries at Luxiar/FMBN estate in Bwari Abuja in the first quarter of the year in 2024, was a testimony to the great things happening in the housing sector under Senator Gbenga Ashafa, as the Managing Director, Chief Executive officer CEO, Federal Housing Authority FHA.

The transformative and innovative template, no doubt, with the ongoing strides and sustained efforts along with government supports , the target of 100, 000 units houses annually will become achievable under the current leadership and Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

All hands must be on deck to support the laudable objectives of the administrative reforms, robust oversight and needed amendments of the existing act, so as to guarantee needed investments in the housing sector, provision of more affordable houses devoid of any administrative bottle necks in Nigeria.

Yusuf Is A Public Affairs Analyst, Writes from Abuja on yus.abubakar3@gmail.com

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