Ashafa; Moving FHA Beyond Golden Jubilee Years, — ABUBAKAR YUSUF.
For Senator Gbenga Ashafa, the success story of the Federal Housing Authority FHA has been on a progression both from achieving it’s statutory mandate, to introduction of modern and modest programs, that will drive the main provider of houses to Nigerians compete both locally and globally.
With a grounded management under the current leadership, celebrating five decades of the existence of FHA was a mission fulfilled for a highly exposed, groomed and experienced technocrat, politician and administrator of high repute , Senator Gbenga Ashafa.
The combination of these positive traits in FHA had formed the crux of people oriented decisions, which led to not only commemorating the 50 years of it’s existence, but celebrating five decades of it’s establishment precisely in 1973.
The golden jubilee anniversary which started with the launching of the FHA@50 logo, was held in August, 2023.
A media parley and Press conference was also held to acquaint the media and entire world on its policy thrust and the need for the celebration which helps on November, 16 , 2023 by the management of FHA under the Managing Director/ Chief Executive officer.
To celebrate the golden jubilee, November 23 and 24, 2023 was set aside that attracted experts, leaders, and stakeholders in the housing sector under the chairmanship of Nigeria’s President, Ahmed Tinubu.
The two day event held at International Conference Center ICC attracted Former Nigeria Military Leader, General Yakubu Gowon whose administration established the Federal Housing Authority FHA in 1973.
Gowon who expressed delight on the existence of FHA till date, said his fulfilment was not only building houses to accommodate Nigerians from all walks of life, but building relationship across tribes, religion, extraction and sections of the country, stating that the same idea that led to the establishment of National Youth Service Corps NYSC , was extended to Federal Housing Authority, FHA.
While lauding the current administration and leadership for sustaining the laudable objective of the agency , he commended the current management under Senator Gbenga Ashafa for sustaining the social contract between Nigerians and the government.
In his address, former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), said providing shelter to Nigerians is still a priority today as it was 50 years ago, and even more so in view of rapid population growth. Commending the FHA for its efforts and achievements of the decades, Gowon noted that there so much more work to do.
On his part, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu represented by the new Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Arc Ahmed Musa Dangiwa expressed the determination on building on the success story and policy framework of the management of FHA, through provision of mass housing, partnerships with the private sector and the global community.
While he congratulated the FHA for marking 50 years of existence, he charged the leadership to be visionary and innovative, with the capacity to think outside the box in tackling the enormous housing crisis in the country. “We can see this from the progressive, agenda setting and performance-driven leadership style of His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR. Today, we are celebrating the Renewed Hope for the Federal Housing Authority.
“The fact that FHA is marking its 50th anniversary just six months into the administration of His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is not only a pleasant coincidence, but a golden opportunity for us to begin the process of writing a different, more progressive story for the next 50-years of the institution. Under the Renewed Hope Vision of His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, we want to see a reformed, more efficient, and capable Federal Housing Authority (FHA) that would have the financial strength to deliver more on its mandate,” he added.
Arc. Dangiwa added that the FHA has an advantage of operating across all income segments and must take advantage of its unique position to deliver more value to government and Nigerians. “I want to see the FHA go to the capital market, issue bonds, and raise funding to deliver mass housing projects across the country, market them, payback the loans, and declare profit. In the next fifty years, we expect that FHA would be celebrating millions of homes built and successfully delivered to Nigerians,” he said.
Also at the event was the former Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), who noted that the FHA must begin to take a demand-driven approach in order to embark on sustainable housing delivery.
During the program of event on Tuesday, 23 November, 2023, the Key Note Address was presented by the former Lagos state Governor, and immediate past Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola , SAN ,CON with was titled : “The Future of Housing In Nigeria, & 50 Years of FHA , A Call to Action for Political Leaders and Policy Makers for Decent and Affordable Housing “.
The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Arc Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, who was the special guest of honor at the occasion, along with the Chairman , Senate Committee on Housing and Habitat, Senator Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Aminu Balele, his House of Representatives counterpart graced the occasion.
Other special guests included Senator Solomon Olamikekan, Adeola , Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriations, a House of Representatives Member, Hon (Arc) Salman Idris and (Arc) Lucy Uzodinma, Head of Department/Director, Public Building.
A gala, dinner and award night was organised expected on the first day on Thursday, where past and present leaders of the agency, members of staffs and management was honored at the occasion.
For the second day running of the event on Friday , The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Mallam Mamuda Mamman, Senator Osita Izunaso, Chairman , House Committee on Capital Market and Dr Mathew Nwogu his counterpart in the House of Representatives was the special guests for the event.
Perspectives from the Managing Director, Chief Executive officer CEO Federal Housing Authority FHA, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Rt Honorable Abike Dabiri, MD NIDCOM, Mr Hamman Madu, MD/CEO FMBN, Mr Kehinde Ogundimu, MD/CEO NMRC, Mr Abdul Muktar, MD/CEO, FHFL, Mr Chibuike D. Nwaegerue, Director, (OFID), CBN and Mr Hayatudeen Awwal MD. FHAMB was presented at the event.
Other key presentation for the occasion included four other lead papers, moderators and panelists, speakers and experts of high repute in the Housing industry that made presentation for the two day occasion.
The lead papers included, “Revolutionizing the Housing Sector, Practical Experiences from other Climes” presented by Mr Nehemiah Mcchendu, Kyandu, Former MD, Tanzanian Housing Corporation to be moderated by Mr Femi Adewole, Former MD, Family Homes Fund and Shelter Afrique.
The panelists and speakers dwelled on the Rwandan Experience, The Kenyan Experience and AUHF Experience.
Another lead paper with the topic , Building A Strong Financial Model for Sustainable Housing Model In Nigeria ” by Mr Thierna-Habib Hann, Managing Director/ CEO , Shelter Afrique, moderated by Mr Emmanuel Akinwumi, former Head of Private Sector, African Development Bank AFDB.
The panelists and speakers topic was on “Assessing Multi -Lateral Funding for Affordable Housing” , “Public Sector Funding for Housing Development Agencies: Which Way Forward” and “Sustainable Funding Strategy for Affordable Housing; An Aggregate of Off-Shore &On-Shore Funding Models”.
Professor Charles Inyangete, Pioneer MD/CEO, NMRC moderated and presented a paper titled , “Affordable Housing Delivery and Mortgage Sector Development; The Collaborative Roles of Government Agencies”, while Gen. Tunde Reis (Rtd), Chairman, First World Communities Ltd dwelled on “FHA@50 and Nigerian Housing Sector: Which Way Forward” moderated by Rev. (Surv) Chime Ugochukwu, Group MD, Copen Group , with panelists and speakers , “The Role of FHA in Housing the No, Low and Medium Income Earners”, Access to Primary and Secondary Mortgage Facilities: A Critical Issue, Integrating Customs and Tradition in Contemporary Housing Designs in a Muti- Cultural Nigeria for Affordable Housing ” and Issues In Regulating the Housing Sector”.
Stakeholders at the local and international bodies promised to support the FHA to ensure its activities are revolutionized inline with the global practices.
The African Union for Housing Finance AUHF and Shelter Afrique Development Bank that presented papers separately via zoom promised to support the FHA to redouble it’s housing programs in Nigeria.
In his address, the Managing Director, Chief Executive officer CEO Federal Housing Authority FHA, Senator Gbenga Ashafa who commended both past and present leaders of the country, called for more supports from the federal government
The recent Golden Jubilee, Ashafa noted that the lectures, discussions, and critiques had, served as a guide to the Authority. ‘The insights gained from our Golden Jubilee, lectures, discussions, and critique, serve as a guide to optimizing our process towards ensuring that the Authority remains relevant and positioned to deliver on its mandate.
While lauding the legislative arm of government, The FHA Chief Executive noted that the legislature is pivotal to the sustainability of the Authority. He noted that the urgent amendments to the agency’s outdated Act are imperative, as is securing regular governmental interventions for her operations.
The Managing Director noted that the Authority’s Budget estimates are based on its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and deposits by the prospective housing subscribers of the on – going projects. He decried the fact that the Authority’s enabling law which deals with the Financial Provisions of FHA has no clearly defined enforceable statutory lines of revenue accruable to it.
He noted that the Authority has not received any intervention funds from any source(s) in the last three years.
However, it received a total sum of N 8,500,000.00(Eight Billion, Five Hundred Million Naira) only as intervention fund for Zuba Housing Estate, FCT between 2018 and 2019, with which 748 housing units of various house types were delivered, which was the only housing estate personally commissioned by the immediate past president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Major General Muhammadu Buhari(Rtd) GCFR, on 2nd May, 2023.
On the challenges of the Authority, Senator Ashafa pointed at the agency’s obsolete Enabling Law, Funding challenges due to exclusion from the National Budget/Appropriation, Excessive cost of land acquisition which add up to the cost of construction and sales, overwhelming effect of operating surplus implementation without due consideration to the Agency’s peculiarities.
He cited the direct deductions through TSA Remita from deposits on housing by prospective buyers.
Inspite all , we had embarked on 2,000 Mass Housing at Bwari, 7, 000 at Mbora, planned 700 hectares Smart city in Mpape village , partnerships at Guzape, Lugbe all in Abuja, and across the country including the 20,000 housing units in the remaining six geopolitical zones.
The two day golden jubilee celebration and event was an eye opener and many steps forward both for the private and public sector investment in housing in the country, including the planned supports running into Billions of dollars by the global bodies.