Nigeria, the giant of African and most populous black nation of the World, is reported to have a housing deficit of over 20 million units, and the problem is only getting worse, as the population is increasing. In addition to the dearth of skilled labor, other challenges to housing delivery in Nigeria include: high cost of land and local building materials, lack of access to finance, inadequate infrastructure, over dependent on importation of raw materials, the strength of the naira, bureaucracy, and corruption. These challenges make it difficult and expensive to build new homes and sustained existing stock, there widening the gap between supply and effective demand of housing in Nigeria. This article seeks to discuss reasons for short supply of skill labour, it effect on housing supply in Nigeria and offers recommendations on the how to mitigate it.
Dearth of Skilled Labour:
One of the major challenges to addressing this deficit is the dearth of skilled labor in the construction industry.
There are a number of factors that have contributed to this shortage of skilled labor. One is the lack of investment in vocational training. In Nigeria, there are simply not enough schools and training programs that teach the skills necessary to work in the construction industry. The few technical schools are underfunded and are not given the same attention like secondary schools.
Another factor is the brain drain. Many skilled workers in Nigeria have migrated to other countries in search of better opportunities. This has left a void in the Nigerian labor market that has made it difficult to meet the demand for skilled labor in the construction industry.
Consequences of dearth of Skilled Labour:
The shortage of skilled labor has a number of negative consequences for housing delivery in Nigeria. First, it drives up the cost of construction. When there is a shortage of skilled workers, construction companies have to pay higher wages in order to attract and retain workers. This increases the cost of housing, making it less affordable for many people.
Second, the shortage of skilled labor leads to delays in construction projects. When there are not enough skilled workers to complete a project, it can take longer to finish. This can lead to cost overruns, leading to reputational risk on the part of the developers.
Third, the shortage of skilled labor can lead to poor quality housing. When workers are not properly trained, they may not be able to build safe and durable homes. This can lead to health and safety hazards for homeowners, occupiers and the society.
There are a number of things that can be done to address the shortage of skilled labor in the construction industry in Nigeria. One is to increase investment in vocational training, the number of technical colleges should be more than Grammar Schools. The government should provide financial support to schools and training programs that teach the skills necessary to work in the construction industry. Teachers of school skill should be more rated and remunerated that those of Grammar Schools.
Another is to create incentives for skilled workers to stay in Nigeria. Technical certificates holders should be at par with the counterpart with literary certificates in Government employments. The government could offer tax breaks or other benefits to skilled workers who choose to work in Nigeria.
Finally, the government could work with the private sector and other institutions such as Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria to develop training programs that meet the specific needs of the construction industry. This would help to ensure that workers are trained in the skills that are in demand.
Addressing the shortage of skilled labor is essential to addressing the housing deficit in Nigeria. By taking steps to increase the number of skilled workers in the construction industry. The government and private sector need to work together to address these challenges in order to make housing more affordable and accessible for all Nigerians.