Our Stand (89) –
The basic needs of human: food, clothing and shelter. Housing is one of the best indicators of a person`s standard of living and his/her place in the society. Nelson Mandela once said about his house in Orlando west, Soweto “(It was the opposite of grand, but it was my first true home of my own and I was mightily proud. A man is not a man until he has a house of his own)”.
Like food and clothing, housing ranks first among the three (3) basic human needs. Its availability is very crucial to the welfare of every human. The performance of the housing sector is one of the yardsticks by which the health of a Nation is measured. Housing markets and housing construction in various economics have served as an engine of growth. The housing sector has typically played a leading role in the process of economic recovery from depression, the housing sector from time to time increases the GDP of any nation when planned in a good way. Housing creates employment especially for unskilled labor.
The construction and house building industries have both constituted of “port of entry” to urban labor market. Grimes in 1976 showed that an investment in housing programs especially low-income housing is critical because it has the potential to draw large amount of unused or underused labor into production. Grimes further observed that housing construction in developing countries could be used as a strategy to absorb slack in investment and employment. In most developed economies, the housing sector is seen as an important sector for stimulating economic growth. In Nigeria access to affordable housing has largely remained an unfilled dream among majority of the citizens especially the middle and lower class of the society.
The issues of housing deficit have been growing from bad to worse and successive governments from the time we gain independence 63 years ago have been grappling with these problems till date. The right to adequate housing that is safe, secure, health availability and inexpensive is enshrined in the Habitat Agenda with the aim of providing adequate shelter for all (Housing is human rights). According to prison Housing company (2010), there are about 10.7 million houses in Nigeria and recently the Vice President of Nigeria, Kassim Shettima in assurance to Nigerians has posted saying, “Nigeria has a deficit of 28 million houses and the government will need ₦21tn to meet our housing needs”. How would this be realizable as Nigeria celebrates her 63rd anniversary irrespective of the policies, organizations and regulations which the government has put in place since independence in 1960.
There is still a shortage of housing especially for the low-income families in the society. The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) which is responsible for the provision of mortgages to low-income earnings through the National Housing Fund (NFH) has operational and capability restraints that limit its efficiency. With this, the few low-income earnings who own their houses usually obtain land and build incremental with their funds through co-operatives while the high–income house owners buy with money or mortgage finance, usually pay back over a maximum period of ten years. A major shortcoming has been with ownership rights under the land use Act 1978, which confers ownership of all lands to Governors of each state and is substantial restrictions to housing and housing investment in Nigeria. Some of the critical issues affecting housing in Nigeria include: inadequate access to finance, slow administration procedure and the high cost of land registration and titling. Other reasons for the glaring deficit in affordable houses in Nigeria was attributed to some of the following factors: lack of expertise, uncertainties in housing policies, inadequate funding, poor motivation for relevant instructions agencies, political will and selfish gains of some key stakeholders in the sector. The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERCG) introduced by the Federal Government (2017-2020) proposed the setting-up of Family Homes Fund (FHF), which is to address Housing Deficit in Nigeria is designed to stimulate the construction sector while improving access to social housing. The main aim & objectives are to overcome critical constraints in the construction and real estate sectors and increase the availability of financing for the construction industry. As we celebrate our anniversary of 63 years as a Nation is time for the government to come up with a strategy and good Housing Policies that would provide housing for all and vision for the country.
We in viewpoint housing media wish you a happy anniversary.