Stakeholders urge Lagos to reform low-income home ownership
Stakeholders in the housing delivery systems have urged Lagos State government to strengthen the procedure for ownership or subscription to the low-income homes built by the Ministry of Housing and other schemes.
They also want key players – real estate developers, building material producers, construction experts and artisans to be well incentivized to support, as well as explore opportunities in low-income housing.
The stakeholders spoke at the Co-creation Workshop on Selected Housing Initiatives proposed by the Lagos State government as part of the state’s Development Plan (LSDP) 2030-2052, organised by the Rethinking Cities in partnership with Heinrich Boll Foundation in Lagos.
They recommended that the State Governor issue an Executive Order that road and drains will be provided in any low-income housing development project, initiated by a private sector organisation, including a co-operative society, while the number of units to be built by such a developer to qualify for the intervention should be determined by the government.
Speaking on ‘Housing Opportunities for Low -income earning residents in Lagos,’ Dr. Moses Ogunleye, canvassed for tax rebates and waivers for property developers. “The issue of affordability by low-income earners within the mixed-income housing strategy will be a challenge for attracting developers, likely incentives, notwithstanding. Allocating land at subsidised rate is easier to achieve in areas where such lands have already been acquired by the government,” he said.
To address the deficits in the housing sector, he said the government needed to increase the number of low-income or affordable housing units.
He said the plan by the government to attain 100,000 housing units yearly through existing subsidised housing schemes had failed as it could only attain 10 per cent in the last four years.
Ogunleye, a town planner, said physical development plans in the state such as master plans and model city plans should have areas designed or zoned for mixed-income or low-income homes and housing developments. He said the state’s New Towns Development Authority (NTDA) should also designate sites for low-income housing within its schemes in various parts of the state.
According to him, the initiative on reducing the cost of permits for low-income and mixed-income housing can be effective through an Executive Order to be issued by the State Governor.
The former president, Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON) called for the revival of the real estate developers’ programme, in which land is offered to corporate bodies to build homes and provide infrastructure, adding that such developers should be made to focus on low-income and mixed-income homes.
The Chief Executive Officer, Northcourt, Mr. Ayo Ibaru, said that with an estimated 22 million residents in Lagos, the real estate market was one of the most active on the continent.
Ibaru explained that demand for land and real estate in the state had outstripped supply, stressing that land prices grow at each election cycle. He said unless the state government intervenes to control rent, the rate of poverty would continue to grow higher.
“We should review our housing policy plans every three years. It should not be after every decade or multi-decades. The initiative planned to construct 100,000 houses yearly was not met, as the government built only 2,000 houses in 2022.
He argued that the ambitious plan of LSDP could only be achieved with the buy-in of various stakeholders in the sector, noting that limiting action to just one department or ministry would not achieve the needed result.
Earlier, the Executive Director, Rethinking Cities, Deji Akinpelu, said one of the LSDP areas of focus is inclusive housing, which is to be provided through the vehicles of the mixed-income housing and social housing models.
“The initiatives through which the state government wants to promote this model is to incentivise developers to invest in mixed-income/ inclusionary and environmentally sustainable housing in new urban areas, by offering tax rebates and waivers on permits cost and allocating land at subsidised rates,” he added.