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Fashola Okays Plan For Affordable Houses

Source: BABATOLA MICHAEL - thewillnigeria.com
PHOTO: LAGOS STATE GOVERNOR, MR BABATUNDE FASHOLA, SAN (M) SIGNING THE LAGOS MORTGAGE AND PROPERTY BILL INTO LAW AT THE CONFERENCE ROOM, LAGOS HOUSE, IKEJA, TODAY, MONDAY, AUGUST 23, 2010.
PHOTO: LAGOS STATE GOVERNOR, MR BABATUNDE FASHOLA, SAN (M) SIGNING THE LAGOS MORTGAGE AND PROPERTY BILL INTO LAW AT THE CONFERENCE ROOM, LAGOS HOUSE, IKEJA, TODAY, MONDAY, AUGUST 23, 2010.


LAGOS, August 23, (THEWILL) - Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has signed into law a bill establishing the Lagos State Mortgage Board with a commitment that his administration would ensure the provision of affordable housing for all categories of Lagos residents.

He said the board comprised a six-member board chaired by the Commissioner for Finance, Prince Rotimi Oyekan, stating that the board will "generate a conducive environment to enable access to mortgage as well as protect Lagos residents and the state government from the evil practices that will not enhance good living conditions for the people".

In his remarks, Fashola said with the coming into effect of the Law, the difficulties hitherto encountered by lawyers in the interpretation of the state’s old and outdated Conveyance Law of 1881 would be overcome.

He said: "It is the most momentous step we have taken in our effort to provide affordable housing for the people of Lagos; momentous because as a lawyer, I know that in the Bar one of the difficulties encountered in the prosecution of cases pertaining to mortgage was to find the Conveyance Law of 1881".

"The signing of this bill is also a fulfillment of a promise made by us to the people at inception that we will find a permanent solution to the need for affordable housing for the people. It is not that we are unable to build houses but there is need to build houses that are affordable so that the low income people will also have access to decent homes.

"The missing word is not lack of houses but lack of affordable and sustainable housing delivery. That is what we intend to solve as long as we remain leaders of this state. This is why we started with the law because some may ask why the law? If there is no institutional framework, there is no regulatory framework; there can’t be a uniform practice.

"Until we create a system of mortgages that ensures that once you have a job, you can own a house, that is the only way we think that we will begin to deliver sustainable housing for this state and for this country. This is the only way everyone can have shelter; this is the only way people can have shops; this is the only way we can stop corruption and other malpractices," Fashola said.

"This is what the new law seeks to achieve; to create long term funding that allows not only the state government to build and sell to people on a mortgage basis but to encourage members of the private sector who are into real housing estate development to be able to build knowing that there is somebody that will guarantee the uptake and collect the money back over a long term.

"That is the only way our people can own their own homes; that is the only way in which they can own their shops knowing that they can pay over a period of convenience as long as they are commercially active. This is one of the most critical tools that our country needs to stop the tide of corruption.

"If we want public officers, if we want people to resist temptation of being corrupt we must provide their basic needs which is shelter and we must provide it in a sustainable way and also tie it to their work and their income in a manner that encourages them to remain productive if they want to keep that home", he said.

Fashola said although the mortgage scheme launched earlier for public servants and other members of the private sector in the state suffered some buffeting as a result of the global financial crisis, government would soon announce a policy to modify it to enable the Government roll out a housing plan for the State.

Earlier, while introducing the bill, the Special Adviser on Political and Legislative Powers, Honourable AbdulHakeem AbdulLateef, said the bill has a total of 69 sections adding that under the Law, the board is encouraged to negotiate mortgages on behalf of the less privileged among other provisions.

Also present at the brief ceremony were the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Olasupo Sasore, Commissioner for Finance, Prince Rotimi Oyekan amongst other members of the board and members of the State Executive Council as well as other top government functionaries.