For the keen observers of the Nigerian housing sector, the controversy over the actual housing deficit figure in the country has dominated the scene for some weeks now. While the Federal Government is insisting that the estimated 20 million housing deficit has been reduced through several housing projects it has catered to over the years, the reality on ground does not tally with the claim. With many homeless Nigerians on the increase, figures and realism will lay this matter to rest, once and for all.
Africahousingnews.com, as an affordable housing advocacy platform, therefore enjoins the Federal Government to reduce dissipation of energy on the number of houses that have been built, concentrating instead on the main task of building houses and creating an enabling environment for private developers to come in and accelerate the daunting challenge of providing affordable housing, especially to the low income bracket population segments.
As at today, the United Nations and the World Bank, have some facts about the housing deficit in Nigeria, but the Federal Government insists it’s a projected figure. The question is, if indeed, it’s a projected figure, what are the projected figures we have about our own country’s housing deficit?
Presently, Nigeria is estimated to be 200 million in population and the number of houses being built is far below the sporadic population growth in all ramifications. We therefore opine that should the government be doubtful about the international agencies’ figures inspite of the bare truth of homelessness of millions of Nigerians, it will be a welcome arrangement for it to engage the World Bank that have served us these projected figures of the housing deficit to know how they arrived at the figure. We also recommend that an independent survey on the available Housing deficit should be commenced by the Federal Ministry of Housing to ascertain a more realistic figure.
Beyond that, the Ministry can also engage some other institutions who have previously carried out surveys about the country on the issue. Ms Leilana Fartha, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Adequate Housing visited the country recently; she came up with her own information on the number of unoccupied houses in our major cities and reasons why many are homeless, pointing to the fact that the houses being built are not adding value to the system. It is not rocket science for the Federal Government to know by now that the population of the country is increasing geometrically while the houses being built are far below the level of estimated progression, creating a ticking time bomb scenario waiting to explode, with massive impact being felt by future generations.
We therefore call on the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to focus more on policies that will encourage private real estate sector participation in housing delivery. Not forgetting the urgent need to facilitate access to land as well as create policies that will promote effective access to mortgage by Nigerians, no matter the income level.
lt is on record that McKinsey Global Institute in 2018 ranked Nigeria behind India and China as the third country in the world with the highest number of substandard housing. With this, Nigeria has the highest substandard houses in Africa, a catalyst for the rampant cases of building collapses being experienced across the nation.
While Africahousingnews.com is working towards enabling the Federal Government see reasons in what these reputable organizations are saying, it calls upon it to take it as a challenge to increase the tempo in affordable and decent housing provision for Nigerians, as concerned Nigerians will like to know the exact number of houses that the present administration has delivered since taking the helm of affairs in 2015. Hence, from all indications, supplying the number of houses that have been built and delivered in all the states of the federation for the world to access and utilise will help improve the trust the populace has on its promise to deliver quality living standards to Nigerians.
While housing projects have been spearheaded by the government in different states, series of fact checks implemented by Africanhousingnews.com shows that most of the houses built by the Ministry of Housing under the present administration is at 70 to 85 percent completion. Noteworthy, is the fact that some of these houses are located in remote locations and may not be occupied easily by citizens, that is if the final prices are within the affordability of those in dire need of these housing units.
Just as stated in our housing agenda to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing at the beginning of 2020, we are calling on the Federal Government to place priority on data collation, collaborating with the National Bureau of Statistics ( NBS), National Real Estate Data Committee and other notable organisations that are into data collation.
We believe it is time to take a robust approach in tackling the housing shortage head on for the benefit of Nigerians.
Africahousingnews.com has a mission to remain an astute advocate of all things affordable housing to the teeming Nigerian populace.
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