APDC unveils ‘owner-occupier’ scheme for low-income earners

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The Abuja Property Development Company (APDC), an agency of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), has unveiled plans to bridge the housing deficit in the nation’s capital. The firm is promoting an initiative under a planned “rent-to-own” scheme, aimed at empowering low-income earners to access affordable housing.

APDC’s Managing Director, Lawal Aliyu Magaji, said the firm was looking at the railway corridors in Abuja, to build affordable houses in such areas as it will also make other category of low-income earners live where they can access their work stations easily.

Blaming the rising cost of houses in Abuja on building materials as well as challenges posed by the unfavourable exchange rate regime, Magaji explained that “we are trying to come up with a rent-to-own scheme. Instead of paying rent to a landlord, how about paying for you to own the house ultimately? We are going to work on that. But it is going to be a tripartite thing between the off-taker, his organisation and then the APDC as the developer, because we need to have that agreement so that when people are exiting the service, we will be notified that he is leaving and then his entitlement will have to be kept until he liquidated or we take out the cost of the building. We have the intention of doing social housing and that has to be done with the FCT Administration to see that the cost of those houses is brought down. We also want to build houses for low-income earners. If you are a big man and you stay in Maitama or Asokoro and your driver or cook stays in Keffi or Suleja, of course, you cannot function well. We are looking at the railway corridors. The light rail as you know has started test running. We intend to have affordable houses around the corridors. That would allow the people to hop into the trains and go to work in any part of the city.”

Magaji said the agency was partnering some groups on affordable housing.

He said: “One of the challenges we have is the rising cost of building materials and when land is allocated, it comes with a lot of encumbrances which have to be factored into the cost of houses. If you are given a land that has infrastructure and it does not come with any encumbrances in terms of payment of compensation, of course the prices of the house will come down. The finishing materials of some of the houses have to be imported and foreign exchange is scarce.

“However, we are working with groups who are trying to proffer some other solutions, providing locally made building materials that we can use here or getting some of these companies to come and establish their plants here and produce these materials locally. This will go a long way, with the support of the government, to bring down the cost of the houses.”