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State of Nigeria’s housing report indicts FG, states

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam
11 October 2021   |   4:20 am
A feeling of frustration and tone of displeasure prevailed in Abuja last week, as housing corporations picked holes in the Federal and State Governments’ housing policies.

AHCN office complex in Lagos

• Proposes affordable housing development fund
• Less than 100,000-units built in a year

A feeling of frustration and tone of displeasure prevailed in Abuja last week, as housing corporations picked holes in the Federal and State Governments’ housing policies.

Under the umbrella of the Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN), the body in its score card brought to the fore, the sorry state of the nation’s housing, which unfortunately a year after, has not improved.

The report is to be a yearly document on the State of the Nation’s Housing as part of the global World Habitat Day celebration. AHCN is an umbrella organisation for all federal, state housing agencies, housing research institutes, mortgage firms and private property developers.

Specifically, their grouse is that the governments both at the federal and state levels have done very little over the years to respond to social housing and address increasing deficit.

AHCN said Muhammadu Buhari administration had failed to meet its 2015 promise to develop two millions new homes in the first year in government and one million yearly. Thereafter with a pledge to establish a vibrant mortgage system with a single interest rate to drive home ownership.

Statistics show that the Federal Government has completed construction of 2,249 housing units in 34 states and FCT in the last five years out of the 4,694 housing units’ construction undertaken during the period.

According to the report, Federal Housing Authority (FHA) in the last one year, embarked on 724 housing units of low/medium income mass housing, which is about 95 per cent completion in Zuba Housing Estate.

Also, about 2,000 housing units is ongoing at Guzape Abuja, through Public Private Partnership (PPP) and currently carrying out direct development of 330 units of various house types in six states, including Awka, Gombe, Makurdi and Osogbo.

Besides, Family Homes Funds Limited (FHF) was able to fund and completed 1,000 homes in Borno State for displaced families. Outside this, the agency commenced about 4,200 homes in seven states and completed over 2,500 units in the last one year.

While the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) increased housing stock from 20,435 to 29,975 between 2017 and 2021 with an increase of 85 per cent in housing loans disbursement and 92 per cent in NHF collections.

“There are also pockets of 100 or 200 units developed by some private developers and most of these developments which are targeted at high income end and few medium income groups are mostly located in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and few state capitals.

“It is however worrisome that efforts put in place over the years to address these deficits have not really yielded notable and anticipated results,” according to AHCN President, Dr. Victor Onukwugha.

Onukwugha said: “If you critically assess the above figure compared with the figure quoted in 2020, it is clear that the federal government only delivered a little over 1,000 housing units within the last one year.

“The above result clearly depicts ineptitude of federal government’s commitment to housing when assessing the performance of the current administration to their promises at the inception of the administration.”

The assumption is that the totality of housing units developed within the last one year, is estimated to be less than 100,000 units (though there is no empirical data to back this up) as against year 2021 projected 700,000 yearly housing units production to close up the deficit.

The report revealed that many of the state governments were not interested in social housing. He said: “Rather than using their state housing corporations to execute their housing projects, most of the state governments embarked on PPP, which produced little or no results.

“Housing corporations were statutorily created as government agencies to execute public housing programme and undertake the development of housing estates within the overall framework of the national housing policy.”

AHCN said governments commitment to lead the crusade of converting opportunities in the housing sector to deliberate and profitable economic venture and growth, has continually remained untapped for economic recovery.

The association reiterated call for the establishment and creation of a special development fund under Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for States Housing Corporations and Federal Housing Authority (FHA) for rental and affordable mass housing provision.

The association said the fund should only be made available for rental housing and affordable low-cost housing scheme, while the state governments should provide landed property and infrastructural facilities through state housing corporations for such construction as their social responsibility to the people.

They also suggested that the funds should be created through legislative power that would make it mandatory for the Federal government to have an annual grant to the fund, while states contribute at least N100 million at source from their monthly allocation. The interest rates for both should not be more than two per cent.

He said: “The idea of federal and state ministries’ involvement in direct construction should be discontinued, while state housing agencies should be saddled with the implementation of the post-COVID-19 plan of building 300,000 housing units. Ministries both at the federal and state levels have no business in direct construction.

“Usurpation of the statutory responsibilities of housing agency in construction and development (which has become a norm) for federal and state governments by ministries is purely an unnecessary duplication of duty which will in the long run cause distraction, needless rivalry, unfair competition and sheer wastages and repetition of efforts and resources.

“Government should create enabling environment for the development and promotion of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) market to build off-takers base to attract investors and fund to housing and construction sector and in the process stimulate mortgage market.”