The Guardian (Nigeria)

Finance ministry to inject N10 billion Sukuk bond into Family Homes Fund’s projects

- From Cornelius Essen, Abuja

TOWARDS achieving affordable housing, the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Family Homes Funds Limited ( FHFL) have signed an agreement to inject N10 billion Sukuk Bond into the constructi­on of 300,000 low- income housing units.

To date, the fund has financed the developmen­t of 11,700 affordable homes in Bauchi, Delta, Ogun, Kano, Nasawara, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states. It targets to spend $ 3 billion on this class of homeowners.

The agreement was signed by the FHFL Managing Director, Mr. Femi Adewole and its Chairman, Alhaji Suleiman Barau, while the minister, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed represente­d the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

Over the next four years, the fund aims to invest up to $ 3 billion ( N1.3 trillion) in the developmen­t of 500,000 housing units for low- income group. In the process, the company will create 1.5 million jobs and enable homeowners­hip through its creative products.

At the ceremony, Ahmed, said housing is one of the key indices for measuring developmen­t in any country.

Ahmed also stated that the bond would strengthen the funds and expand its ability to offer wider opportunit­ies, adding that Nigerians will rely on them to realise their home ownership dreams.

"Housing for Nigerians, especially the low- income has been a major priority for Buhari- led administra­tion. This is one of the strategic pillars of our economic developmen­t programmes and a direct way of improving the lives of citizens," she added.

Also, the Chairman, FHFL Board of Directors, Alhaji Suleiman Barau, explained that with the issuance on a N30 billion Sukuk Bond, they will be committed to financing the developmen­t of affordable houses and strengthen­ing citizens’ drive to own homes.

"We initiated this issuance as one of the measures towards attaining our objective of bridging housing gap in Nigeria, providing millions of jobs and enabling economic growth," he remarked.

The FHFL Managing Director, Mr. Femi Adewole, who expressed delight with the initiative, said: "We have successful­ly completed the issuance of the N30 billion Sukuk Issuance Programme, and the first ever Security Exchange Commission registered corporate Sukuk to be issued in Nigeria."

Adewole explained that the bond issuance was oversubscr­ibed, said the investors include pension funds, ethical funds, fund managers, Islamic institutio­ns, non- finance trustees, corporate and high net worth individual­s.

Similarly, he noted that about 64 per cent of the subscripti­on was from Pension Funds, which the net proceeds from this issue will finance new homes for Nigerians on low- income and will contribute to developing up to 200,000 homes by December, 2022.

"We financed the developmen­t of at least 11,700 homes for low- income earners. This initiative is also for implementi­ng the National Social Housing Programme ( NSHP) of the Federal Government, which is aimed at providing 300,000 houses for citizens," he added.

According to him, this is thefirst single investment in the history of Nigeria, towards ensuring that people have decent homes.

He added that the programme is the government's economic and growth recovery plan in response to the adverse impact of COVID- 19 pandemic.

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