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Affordable Housing: NISH seeks establishment of Cooperative Housing Federation of Nigeria

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The Nigeria Integrated Social Housing (NISH), Affordable Housing Ltd., has called for the establishment of Cooperative Housing Federation of Nigeria (CHFN), to improve off-takers’ chances of owning affordable houses at minimal costs.

The organisation also called for the establishment of Cooperative Housing Fund (CHF) and Cooperative Housing Information System (CHIS).

Mr S.K Yemi Adelakun, Managing Director, NISH Affordable Housing Ltd., made the call at the opening of a 2-day cooperative housing workshop organised by NISH in collaboration with Family Homes Funds, on Thursday in Abuja.

Adelakun said that the CHF would unite off-takers aggregate savings and equity contributions to improve their collective chances of renting or owning affordable houses at minimal costs and to actively invest in various housing value chains.

‘According to him, Cooperative housing should afford off-takers a better negotiating platform with other stakeholders.

“Housing cooperatives in other countries like Kenya play the role of developers, financiers, guarantors, bankers, asset aggregators and managers.

‘‘They are able to attract domestic and international donors and equity funds due to the volume of savings from members,’’ he said..

He explained that cooperative housing would also facilitate procurement of bankable off-takers guarantees required to attract to Nigeria global construction companies with technologies and finance for large scale and cost effective housing delivery.

The managing director explained that the workshop was designed to preach the gospel of synergy in togetherness and to encourage formation of cooperative housing association across the country which would culminate in formation of CHFN.

‘‘The workshop will be made a quarterly event and at the end of this 2-day workshop we will hopefully set in motion action plans towards establishing Cooperative Housing Fund (CHF) and Cooperative Housing Information System (CHIS).’’

He urged the Federal Director of Cooperatives to help in facilitating the registration of cooperative housing associations across the country and particularly the proposed CHFN.

‘‘We count on our partnering banks to initiate financial products or instruments in support of these initiatives; we also count on GIZ and Africa Development Bank for technical support.

‘‘This will enhance governance of these cooperative housing organisations especially in the area of data management,’’ he said.

He stated that for Nigeria to achieve sustainable delivery of affordable houses, housing off-takers financing must be at single digit interest rate.

Adelakun commended the government and its agencies like the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Family Homes Funds and Federal Government Staff Housing Board, which offered six, five and three per cent interest rates respectively.

He observed that these institutions were limited in their capacities to finance construction of affordable houses, given the existing level of housing deficit such that only few Nigerians could qualify and secure mortgages through them.

‘‘While one may be hoping for enhanced capitalisation in the future and special intervention Fund by government, off-takers must engage in self help through innovative principles of cooperative housing,’’ he stressed.

In his address, Alhaji Sani Idris, Federal Director of Cooperatives, praised the idea of the cooperative housing approach.

He said the initiatives involving viable cooperatives were sustainable because the institutions were owned by person whose vested interest initiated their creation.

Represented by Amano Emal of the Federal Department of Cooperatives, Idris said registered cooperatives should be treated as competent entities that are able to take decisions on any matters concerning them as autonomous legal persons.

‘‘It is the choice of the cooperatives to decide the mode of its operations, and this is documented in their Bye-Laws registered along with their names by the Director of Cooperatives, who is the statutory Registrar of cooperatives at the appropriate jurisdiction.’’

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the workshop with the theme: ‘‘Financing Affordable Housing Through Cooperatives,’’ had in attendance executive members of housing cooperatives, off-takers, developers and finance experts among others.

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