By Kingsley Chikwendu & Waja Fajara
Viewpoint Media crew visited Gwagwalada Area Council in the FCT to get people’s views on housing affordability as compared to their monthly or annual income and also talked about how workable it is for the Government to regulate house rent through an affordable fixed rental policy that all house owners must abide with.
Christy Anefo, a resident of Gwagwalada area council in Abuja, spoke about the housing affordability in her area. In her words, ‘’I actually live in my family house but, I interact with people around and I have friends. I know that generally, houses in this city are not affordable. Gwagwalada is a village, an area council and of course, there is a lot of people here, but most of them are not well to do.
Honestly, in our society, Government or employers often don’t consider people before they make certain decisions on housing. So, where I work for instance, I have worked for over 13 years, salaries are not being increased yet, house owners keep increasing rents yearly. So, I really don’t understand why. Of course, when you talk about the salary level or what people are earning and the affordability of houses, they are nothing compared to each other at all. The environmental development is very poor in terms of infrastructures except if you have built your own house and capable, you will provide all the necessary infrastructures by yourself’’.
On the possibility of the government regulating an affordable fixed rent for all house owners to abide with, I will say thatif the government has the will, it is very possible for them to say that in certain areas of the city, rents should not exceed certain amount. You may want to ask also that the government did not build houses for these people, so, they cannot determine what should be the rent, considering the financial implication of building certain houses. But, the government still have the power to put a limit on rented houses in certain areas, considering the fact of what a lot a people are going through in the society.
Chester Nyankume, who resides in Mabushi part of Abuja contributed on the topic of housing affordability, she said; Realistically, it is neither here nor there, how do I mean? Where I am residing in Mabushi, houses are not adequate, infrastructure is zero, a total neglect from the FCT administration. If you know this axis where you have the VIO extending down to Kuje Motors, no infrastructures. So, to access houses in that axis is a difficult terrain, you have to either go through different turnings before you get to where you are going.
Then, of course, you mentioned monthly or annual earnings, it is really exorbitant regarding what one earns. It is really God’s Grace that we are able to meet up with our rents as at when due.
On the possibility of the government regulating an affordable fixed rent for all house owners to abide with.
I will say it is very possible and the reason I said so is because, if you see the houses in our city, they are owned by private citizens, and most of them are not 100 percent taken because of the amount of rent they are asking for. So, when you have a legislation that regulates them to a minimum that is bearable and affordable for the populace, all these places will be taken. Of course, Government can generate more revenue if they put infrastructures in place.
Annie Udofia, a resident of Garki spoke on the possibility of the government regulating an affordable fixed rent for all house owners to abide with.
It is very workable and that is why I really commend Ahmed Isah of Brekete Family because, the houses they want build in Mararaba is very affordable. They said even if you do not have the money, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria [FMBN] are willing to assist, I like that.
So, there is need for government to regulate the house rents because, we have a lot of houses, duplexes, mansions that are empty, nobody occupying them. Yet, there are many people out there looking for where to put their heads. So, it’s very good and nice if the government can regulate house rents for the benefit of the masses.