Fifty-nine new home owners emerged on Wednesday, 10th September, 2014, in Lagos at the 7th Draw of the Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (LagosHOMS), with the state Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN stating that the scheme is affordable because it has taken beneficiaries away from the cash and carry syndrome which requires people to pay for homes at once.
The Governor, who spoke at the BlueRoof Hall, LTV Complex, Agidingbi added that this explains why the state government intervened on rent control and management by passing a legislation that no home owner should take more than a year’s rent.
He maintained that the practice itself is bad enough because asking people who get their salaries on monthly basis to come and pay three years rent in advance is simply about the people hurting themselves.
“If I’m getting my salary at the end of September and my landlord is saying that I must bring three years rent in advance, when I have not even received one month salary in advance. Nobody gets salary in advance that I know, but in this society we have pretended as if all is well, people bring that money but you know that for them to get that money something has moved somewhere, there would be an accounting failure at the end”, he added.
He reiterated that if Nigerians continue to accept three years rent or four years rent, the person paying it must have simply compromised somewhere, which means corruption is being embedded.
Explaining that it was unpracticable for government to give out homes free of charge, the Governor said what encourages him is that after 500 or 600 years in Britain, it is just about 64 percent of them that are home owners while the rest are tenants.
He reminded that even in those countries too, any prospective home owner would still need to put down at least 20-25 percent of the equity which is almost what is being done in Lagos.
He explained that he did some comparison so that people would understand that there is no country in the world that has been able to provide homes for all of her people as home owners and that there would always be a combination of people who own homes and the combination of people who rent homes.
“I do not know of any country that gives houses to its people free, I will like to go and find out how they do it that you just get a house free from government so we must also agree that people must pay for this thing,” the Governor said.
He added that the journey has just started and is improving every month and that if the tempo can be sustained like this on a month to month and year to year basis, in about 10 years time, the number will change for the better.
The Governor who also described affordability as an economic concept, charged residents to continue to think and research on it just as the State is open to ideas about how to make the process much more affordable.
“I have challenged some people to say look, affordability is not an isolated concept, it is an economic concept based on the price of sand, the cost of cement, the cost of iron rod, the cost of money and of course sustainability. If you build a house at N10 and you sell at five naira over time you will lose all your money and your capacity to build more is gone.
“So we must build and we must sell with subsidies that keeps the project going for others, the truth is that the houses you inherit today is the product of the taxes other people have paid”, he explained.
Fashola added that such people who pay taxes expect that they would also get their fair share in the future, adding that Lagos has chosen to start from one place and have real home owners.
“We have real home owners, not some of the advertisements you see on television, about homes that you cannot see, about mortgage opportunities that there are no beneficiaries, about roads that exist only in photographs; this is a real life event. We can talk to the applicants, the homes you see in your photographs actually exist, people have moved into them, only those who have done what we have done can actually begin to challenge us and say that see, we can do it better than you”, he reiterated.
While congratulating the winners, the Governor reminded that two important items made the experience possible for them which is that they have been tax compliant and that it was votes that enthroned the current administration in office.
“I know that without taxes you would not have qualified so I know that you all pay your taxes but did you vote in 2011, did you vote in 2007, will you vote in 2015?
“It is important to ask you these questions because if some people did not vote for this government you would not be sitting here today as beneficiaries of housing units. We therefore owe it a duty to give others a chance by ensuring that you vote to keep these projects going. When the time comes, you must pass on the torch because you have benefitted”, he maintained.
He added that the Lagos HOMS scheme has also taken on additional positive dimensions which are renewal and regeneration concepts, stressing that last month, apart from the draws and the mortgages that were presented, some 16 people who were displaced because their houses collapsed a few years ago in Shogunro were beneficiaries of new homes under the scheme.
“So we have started moving now, slowly but very firmly from first home owners to previous home owners who have lost their homes, whom under our policy of homes are being carried along, because it is a very humbling experience to lose your home.
“So from Shogunro, I told you last month that we were already moving into Adeniji-Adele. I am happy to inform you that we have concluded now the designs for the Adeniji- Adele scheme. We now have the Bill of Quantities, we have resettled and we have paid the settlement cost to the first 30 families whom we are moving out in order to regenerate where they use to leave and hopefully before the end of this year, we will complete the procurement and award the contract for the reconstruction and start building”, he explained.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of the Lagos Mortgage Board Mr Kojo Sagoe said 121 people were successfully prequalified for the September draws out of the 139 people who applied for the nine schemes available.
He added that since the commencement of the monthly draws, a total of 273 new home owners have collected keys and taken possession of their new homes.
He stressed that the Lagos HOMS has been about a change in the mortgage culture of the country with homes being offered at 9.5 percent interest rate and has also successfully created wealth through the building of equity by new home owners.
The event which featured transparent draws in choosing the winners was attended by members of the State Executive Council including the state Deputy Governor, Hon (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope- Adefulire; the state Commissioner for Finance, Mr Ayo Gbeleyi; the state Commissioner for Housing, Mr Bosun Jeje; the Chairman of the Lagos HOMS Committee and former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Supo Shasore, SAN; and several other dignitaries.