‘How Di­as­pora City’ll bridge hous­ing deficit’

Daily Trust - - CITY NEWS - By Si­mon Echewo­fun Sun­day

The Fed­eral Hous­ing Author­ity (FHA) is work­ing to build Di­as­pora City across seven cities in an ef­fort to close the hous­ing deficit and cre­ate jobs.

The Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor/ CEO of FHA, Prof. Mo­hammed Al-Amin, in an ex­clu­sive ses­sion with Daily Trust, listed the seven cities as Abuja, La­gos, Port Har­court, Benin, Kaduna, Enugu and Kano, adding that they have al­ready made a case for it and the gov­ern­ment has ap­proved it.

Prof. Al-Amin said, “The project will gulp about $30bn with fund­ing be­ing sought from in­ter­na­tional fi­nanciers and a mort­gage process for Nige­ri­ans in the di­as­pora.”

Why Di­as­pora City?

Prof. Al-Amin said the idea of FHA Di­as­pora City was cul­ti­vated af­ter care­ful stud­ies that showed Nige­ria at­tracts multi-bil­lion dol­lar fund­ing from the di­as­pora an­nu­ally.

Data avail­able at FHA in­di­cates that in 2011, 2.6 million adult Nige­ri­ans re­ceived money from over­seas. More so, Nige­ri­ans in the di­as­pora re­mit­ted $21bn to Nige­ria in 2012. Of this, those in the United King­dom and the United States re­mit­ted $12.26bn and $7.76bn re­spec­tively.

“One of the first fo­cuses of di­as­pora cit­i­zens is to se­cure de­scent ac­com­mo­da­tion in ar­eas of their choice in their moth­er­land,” the data showed.

Prof. Al-Amin said the FHA then keyed into this by cre­at­ing op­por­tu­nity for di­as­pora cit­i­zens to have a le­gal home or busi­ness in Nige­ria that could gen­er­ate re­turns for them and guar­an­tee their suc­cess­ful re­turn.

He said the con­cept was the brain­child of the De­part­ment of Com­mer­cial Hous­ing of the author­ity af­ter an in­ter­ac­tion with the In­de­pen­dent Cor­rupt Prac­tices and Other Re­lated Of­fences Com­mis­sion (ICPC).

The project is be­ing ex­e­cuted un­der the Nige­ria Di­as­pora Hous­ing Pro­gramme (NIDHOP) that pro­vides home own­er­ship for Nige­ri­ans over­seas and work­ers of Nige­rian Diplo­matic Mis­sions.


Hous­ing ex­e­cu­tion


The FHA Di­as­pora City is com­ing with four house types: flats, du­plexes, ter­races and bun­ga­lows cov­er­ing 200 hectares per site, and 50 hectares neigh­bour­hood. It has a com­ple­tion pe­riod of 16 to 36 weeks af­ter the ground­break­ing cer­e­mony.

An FHA doc­u­ment on the project in­di­cates that the cost for each 50 hectare neigh­bour­hood is es­ti­mated at N116.750bn, which cov­ers 3,920 hous­ing units.

The first hous­ing style – blocks of lux­ury flats, will cover two-bed­room apart­ments of 560 units and three- bed­room apart­ments of 560 units. They will be on four sus­pended floors per block and five flats per floor. This project’s cost, in­clud­ing build­ing, in­fra­struc­ture and project ad­min­is­tra­tion, is es­ti­mated at N12.648bn, FHA said.

The gar­den city ter­race apart­ments will house semide­tached du­plexes mainly tar­geted at peo­ple that have plans to re­lo­cate only their fam­i­lies back home. This will cover 10 hectares in each of the seven cities and could be com­pleted within 36 months af­ter the fi­nan­cial close. The 210 hous­ing units for each city is es­ti­mated at N4.518bn: build­ing alone will gulp N3.5bn from the to­tal cost.

FHA has also planned what it calls the “Met­ro­pol­i­tan Conur­ba­tions” com­pris­ing high rise build­ings of 13 sus­pended floors with un­der­ground park­ing and ser­vices. It will also ap­ply the rent-to-own op­tion to ac­com­mo­date buy­ers and peo­ple who could af­ford only to rent them. It is es­ti­mat­ing N36.855bn for the 2,520 hous­ing units it has pro­posed.

There is also the Fam­ily Ex­ec­u­tive Du­plexes that would oc­cupy 10 hectares per lo­ca­tion. They will be five-bed­room du­plexes with gate­house and boys quar­ters and will have up to 70 hous­ing units in each lo­ca­tion. This project is es­ti­mated to gulp about N4.970bn and could be com­pleted within 16 to 36 weeks de­pend­ing on the speed of fund­ing.

The Di­as­pora Ur­ban Vil­lage com­bines bun­ga­lows, flats and semi-de­tached houses for about 1,120 hous­ing units per lo­ca­tion, split into 560 units of three- bed­room semide­tached bun­ga­lows and 560 units of three-bed­room de­tached du­plexes. This project sec­tion will gulp about N12.648bn on com­ple­tion.

FHA said it also planned a spe­cial hous­ing style for just few cities and mod­elled af­ter the Dubai Oxy­gen City.

The Bil­lion­aire Green will be lo­cated only in Abuja, La­gos and Port Har­court as a re­sort-base lux­ury liv­ing and life­style. It is work­ing with devel­op­ers and stake­hold­ers on the com­pu­ta­tion for the cost of this project.

Fund­ing sources

The FHA boss said gov­ern­ment had con­sid­ered lo­cal and for­eign fund­ing for the projects and that the FHA was dis­cussing with six lo­cal in­vestors, two of which are com­mer­cial banks.

Off-shore fund­ing is also be­ing con­sid­ered from China, Europe and some Amer­i­can in­vestors. A pre­cise ne­go­ti­a­tion is that of the FHA and a con­sor­tium of Chi­nese in­vestors un­der the aegis of Chi­nese En­gi­neer­ing. The author­ity said the con­sor­tium con­sented to a $30bn fa­cil­ity that was payable in 27 years with a three-year mora­to­rium.

“The FHA is favourably dis­posed to this among the other in­vestors. We are, how­ever, work­ing to ad­just the terms, if the in­vestors agree to 10 years mora­to­rium: as be­ing pushed by FHA, then there can hardly be any bet­ter of­fer, which can also af­ford us to use part of the fund to cover mort­gages,” FHA said in the project doc­u­ment.

The FHA also said it was open to any Nige­rian di­as­pora branch on al­ter­na­tive fund­ing idea. It is also seek­ing mort­gage fund­ing op­tions. Lo­cally, it has con­tacted the Fed­eral Mort­gage Bank of Nige­ria (FMBN) on fi­nanc­ing the mort­gage as­pect of the projects.

FHA is also lever­ag­ing on the in­vest­ment it has with the Nige­rian Mort­gage Re­fi­nance Com­pany (NMRC) for longer mort­gage ten­ure, while it has got­ten three of­fers from Euro­pean firms and two Amer­i­can con­sor­tiums, but it is con­sid­er­ing the se­cu­rity and in­ter­est rates in­volved.


How di­as­pora could own homes

Once the project be­gins, Prof. Al-Amin said di­as­pora cit­i­zens would have ac­cess to par­tic­i­pate in the home own­er­ship on in­di­vid­ual pay­ment ba­sis un­der three op­tions.

There is the out­right pur­chase of the prop­erty op­tion. The tranche pay­ment op­tion is next: buy­ers will pay in four in­stall­ments of 25:35:30:10 ra­tio over the project’s con­struc­tion pe­riod. The third op­tion is cre­at­ing mort­gage through a Pri­mary Mort­gage In­sti­tu­tion (PMI) that will cre­ate a long ten­ure plan.

FHA is cre­at­ing an in­ter­est reg­is­tra­tion por­tal on its web­site for Nige­ri­ans in the di­as­pora.

“The di­as­pora cit­i­zen that wants this will en­roll with us and start re­mit­ting about $300 to the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria (CBN) which will then be passed to us,” Prof. Al-Amin said.

The FHA boss said about 700 hectares was ac­quired at Abuja’s Maitama Ex­ten­sion for the project which ground­break­ing cer­e­mony would hold in about two months af­ter which it would be com­pleted in 20 to 30 months.

A pro­to­type du­plex of the Di­as­pora City

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