By Kingsley U. N Chikwendu
Housing deficit in Nigeria has been estimated to be more than 17 million however, there is a possibility that it may be of a higher proportion than has been quoted. This is attributed to the knowledge that the statistics allegedly taken and quoted by the World Bank, was some years ago, and going by the recent pandemic that ravaged the world, Covid 19, more persons may have been left homeless due to possible forced evictions or inabilities to pay rent.
Nigeria being a low-middle income nation is dominated by those living in poor housing conditions, living in slums in the country. Some are inhumane conditions that are grossly unacceptable in the 21st century we see ourselves today, particularly for the fact that Nigeria is an oil-producing nation, Africa’s largest exporter of oil.
As the country marked its 60th anniversary, with the abundance of resources it has, the level of development today would have far been outweighed if the authorities had properly managed these resources. How far has the country’s housing sector developed?
The reason a government is in place is to properly manage available resources that can lift the economy of a nation. It takes for proper understanding to note that economic resources are interwoven amongst themselves, it means that each compliments the other, like the way one would say the environmental sector is key to the development of the solid minerals or industrial sectors.
Amongst the numerous sectors of the economy we have, housing sector sits at the heart of all. Housing is key for an economy that aims for growth as such, the government needs to understand and embrace the catalyzing role it plays in advancing a nation’s economy.
It is not surprising to say that to improve the legitimacy of a government, it should provide affordable housing for the masses where they can cover their heads and feel safe. One of the important roles a government should bear is ensuring that housing provisions are clearly understood, housing policies created, strictly monitored for implementation.
Having made some commendable strides since independence as regards development, Nigeria’s housing sector has not really been impacted as a large proportion of its population cannot still afford good housing. When housing is keyed into, it rubs off on every aspect of a man’s daily activities and a country’s general improvement.
The delivery of affordable housing creates jobs for the construction and related industries, like the engineering and industrial sectors. Provision of affordable housing makes the country’s other sectors benefit. It offers business opportunities for the society and international investors.
When affordable housing is prioritized, it leads to an overall improvement of the standard of living of the people, a family that has its accommodation challenge sorted, will channel efforts to meeting other family needs. It is a known understanding that housing takes a large chunk of a man’s earnings.
A homeless person is more stressed than when he is provided with an environment that has good living conditions. His mental capacity becomes weak and when a man cannot think straight, it affects his immediate environment negatively and when this is the case, he becomes a problem to the society. This is how problems in a society emanate, the little things we ignore today turn out to be major problems in the future.
The living conditions of a man need not to be toyed with, it is from his mind that thoughts are formed. When his living conditions are right, he breeds good thoughts but, when they are negative, he becomes terrible.
When he’s right, he goes out to impact his near environment. When the government creates a friendly environment, it makes provision for more sound minds that think and affect their environments positively. When this happens, the entire society benefit, it becomes filled with sound minded persons that can create ideas of how to grow. When there is growth in the different endeavors of these different sound minds, the economy of that place grows rapidly. This is how a nation grows and develops. It is not all about building infrastructures, you first need to provide an affordable environment where minds can grow.
As such, while we are still in the euphoria of the country celebrating its 60th independence, these are some of the important areas the government should understand that the housing sector can play in advancing the economic fortunes of the country. Create better housing policies, the improvement of a man starts from his home. Ensure that these policies are not just carried out but implemented. The government should lean more on the housing sector than it has done previously to improve the lives of people.
The authorities should embrace collaborating with real estate bodies in the country both private and public, create more legislation of favourable polices and implementation of such that will better the lives of its citizens and will considerably close the gap of housing deficits in the country.
The Nigerian government need to note as a matter of urgency that most times, it is not all about celebrating, it is worth looking behind to see how far one has gone, what should have been done better, areas to improve on. As the government ponders on this, it should also understand that affordable housing is central to the development of a man, his environment and the general society.
Also, with the knowledge that the country’s population has been estimated to double in the next three decades, the authorities should note that the time for it to act is not just now but, be consistent to avert possible intense housing crisis in the future.