About 11,000 housing units are being constructed across the country by the Federal Government, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said.

He said this on Thursday at the 10th meeting of the National Council of Lands, Housing and Urban Development in Lagos.

Fashola also continued his advocacy for the collection of monthly rents by landlords, rather than collecting rents for one, two or three years in advance.

Speaking on housing projects, the minister said, “As you know, the Federal Government is undertaking a National Housing Programme in all states (except Lagos and Rivers which has not started) aggregating to about 5,000 housing units, and trying to complete an inherited ministerial pilot housing scheme across the states which has a little over 6,000 units.”

He said the Federal Housing Authority and Federal Mortgage Bank were also intervening as federal agencies in respective housing development directly, through cooperative societies and the provision of development loans and mortgage loans.

“But all these account for only a small amount of the need across the nation for many reasons not excluding the limited amount of land available to these federal agencies,” he stated.

He told participants at the meeting that these were some of the reasons why he sought to persuade the delegates to go back to their states to persuade their governors to re-commit to housing development.

The minister noted that the government might not be able to make everyone a home owner, but stressed that the number of those who lacked shelter or lived on the edge could be reduced when house rents were affordable.

He said, “I am sure that our country will be a much better place when three years rent in advance, two years rent in advance or one year rent in advance for middle class and working family residential homes becomes monthly rent, payable at the end of the month.

“Why we may not get there immediately, this is an area of immense exclusion that we can remedy by legislative action at state level.

“This is a matter in which the Federal Government has no legislative competence. It is a matter for the states, and I urge you not to turn your backs.”

Fashola argued that three years rent in advance of monthly salary paid in arrears was at the heart of affordability of access to shelter.

He stated that all state legislators must see this as an important area of representation of their people to make life easier.

He added that governors and commissioners must also support this through executive bills.

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