In the part 1 of this article, I pointed out the various challenges that are responsible for the housing deficits in Nigeria. As stated in that article, Nigeria with a population of about 174 million people is currently facing a national housing deficits of about 17 million units. You can read the full article by clicking here.
In this follow-up article, I will be suggesting possible solutions that can be adopted to solve these 17 million housing deficits in Nigeria. But before I make my suggestions, let’s go back memory lane to review some of the historical interventions by the Nigerian government to solve these housing deficits in the country.
Government’s Intervention on Housing Deficits in Nigeria
Various Nigerian governments have made effort to intervene in the housing crises in Nigeria. The breakdown of some government intervention can be seen below;
The First National Development Plan (1962-1968)
In the 1962-1968 Development Plan, Government made effort for housing provision which was principally focused on Lagos. However, out of the 61,000 units that was to be built during the period, only 500 units (less than 1%) were actually built by the federal government.
The Second National Development Plan (1970-1974)
In this plan, Government made effort to improve housing by establishing the National Council of Housing in 1971. It also intended to construct about 59,000 housing units nationwide with 15,000 in Lagos and 4,000 in each of the other 11 state capitals. But a review of the Second National Development Plan shows only marginal improvements in government efforts in housing provision.
Third National Development Plan (1975-1980)
It was in the Third National Development Plan that government accepted housing as its social responsibility. Government undertook a comprehensive and active intervention in the housing sector and involved itself directly in the provision of housing, instead of shifting the responsibility to the private sector. During this third national development plan, the government renamed the Nigerian Building Society as the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria. The plan was also not quite successful.
The Fourth National Development Plan (1981-1985)
The Fourth National Development witnessed a housing provision drive based on the concept of affordability and citizenship participation. During this period, the government embarked on an ambitious programme and in the first phase, planned the construction of 160,000 housing units nationwide between 1979 and 1983.
It proposed the construction of 2,000 houses for each of the then 19 States and Abuja annually, out of which 80% was earmarked for the low-income earners. Unfortunately, it was hardly successful and by 1983, only about 20% of the set target was achieved.
The National Housing Policy of Nigeria
A ten man committee set up by the Military Government of Ibrahim Babangida in 1985 led to the formulation of the National Housing Policy of Nigeria. The ambitious housing policy was launched by the then military government in 1991 with a slogan “Housing for All by the Year 2000A.D’’.
The goal was for all Nigerians to have access to decent housing at affordable cost before the end of year 2000A.D. The housing needs in the country as at the launch of the policy stood at about 8million units including projection in meeting the policy target in both rural and urban centers in response to United Nations advocacy which calls for housing for all by the year 2000.
The inability and failure of the policy to adequately resolve the backlog of housing problems in the country made the civilian government of President Obasanjo to review the 1991 National Housing Policy in 2006.
The new policy was aimed at removing the impediments to the realization of housing goal of the nation. The goal of the policy is to ensure that Nigerians own or have access to decent, safe and healthy housing accommodation at affordable cost.
The following are some of the revised housing policy objectives;
- Provide adequate incentives and an enabling environment for greater private sector (formal and informal) participation in the provision of housing.
- Encourage and promote active participation of other tiers of government in housing delivery.
- Create necessary and appropriate institutional framework for housing delivery.
- Strengthen the institutional framework to facilitate effective housing delivery.
- Develop and promote measures that will mobilize long term sustainable and cheap funding for the housing sector.
- Government shall by patronage, develop and promote the use of certified locally produced building materials as a means of reducing construction cost.
- Ensure the use of relevant and fully registered Nigerian professionals to provide appropriate designs and management in housing delivery.
- Develop and promote the use of appropriate technology in housing construction and materials production.
- Make land for housing development easily accessible and affordable.
- Improve the quality of rural housing, rural infrastructure and environment. Grant fiscal incentives to small and medium scale local manufacturers of building materials.
In other to achieve the housing policy objectives, some strategies were designed to be implemented as identified in the policy document which includes;
- Strengthen and sustain the federal ministry of Housing and Urban Development to harmonize and monitor housing delivery in Nigeria.
- Maintain and strengthen the department in the standard organization of Nigeria responsible for monitoring and setting minimum performance standard in the building industry.
- Restructure and adequately capitalize the following institution to effectively perform their statutory roles: the federal mortgage bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Federal Mortgage Finance Limited (FMF) and Urban Development Bank (UDB).
- Review as when necessary, the provision of the followings to make them more effective and enforceable: Mortgage Institutions Act, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Act, Trustee Investment Act, Insurance Act, National Housing Fund Act., Employees Housing Scheme (special provision) Act, Federal Government Staff Housing Board Act., Urban Development Bank Act, and Land use Act.
- Provide fiscal incentives (tax waivers, duty waivers etc) service land and expeditious planning approval process to encourage private sector participation in housing delivery.
- Encourage the establishment of, and sustain land registries in all tiers of government in the country.
- Promote modernization, computerization, and human resources development of land registry throughout the country with special attention to the development of coordinated and comprehensive registries for land belonging to all tiers of government and all their agencies and net working of all land registries into a national land depository.
- Provides sites and services scheme for housing nationwide.
- Provide statistical data for effective process of housing delivery in Nigeria.
In spite of all these interventions and policy formulations, access to affordable housing has largely remained a mirage to the vast majority of Nigerians. Housing problems is still giving stakeholders and government sleepless nights irrespective of the huge benefits it will accrue to the nation if addressed properly.
9 Practical Solutions to Nigeria’s 17 Million Housing Deficits
In order to solve the 17 million housing deficits in Nigeria, and achieve sustainable housing delivery in the country, government and stakeholders should adopt the following 9 practical measures;
- Review and Totally Implement the National Housing Policy
The major aim of housing policy is to solve housing problems. Majority of the Nigerian residents are low income earners which the policy supposedly deemed to address but cannot afford housing being produced under the programme.
The national Housing Policy should be reviewed in line with the unique diversity of Nigeria’s cultural inhabitant as well as the financial, human and material strength. The policy at when revised should be implemented totally.
- Establishing a Viable Mortgage System
A viable mortgage system will strengthen home ownership. For example a mortgage system where rent payment will lead to owning a house. This system will afford the low income earners the opportunity of owning an apartment after many years of paying rent to the mortgage institution. From being a tenant, they become a landlord. Government should therefore come in to provide the enabling environment by encouraging mortgage.
- Easy Registration
The process of building plan approval and issuance of certificate of occupancy should be made faster and less cumbersome. The cumbersome property registration processes are major barriers to housing development and home-ownership, leading to the country’s huge housing deficit.
The revision of the cumbersome property registration process, acquiring land title documents and transfer will bring the needed improvement and growth to both the housing and mortgage industry in the country.
- Public Housing Projects
Government should consider public housing as a form of social responsibilities considering that the financial arrangement with the mortgage institutions may be beyond the reach of low income earners in Nigeria.
- Private Sector Participation
The private sector should be encouraged in housing production with the aid of incentives, loans and subsidies and building land should be readily available and accessible to potential builders.
- Locally Manufacturing Building Materials
Local building materials should be encouraged and also mass production of building material. This will make the materials to be affordable to the poor.
- Provision of Rental Houses
Rental housing are still very relevant and should be incorporated into the housing policy especially based on the demographic and resource pattern of each state either in form of subsidized housing or incorporating social housing into the policy.
- Provision of Infrastructures
Government should make provision of more infrastructures like bore holes, electricity, road connectivity and drainage among others its priority especially within the new housing locations.
- Policy Research
Finally there is the necessity for public policy decision makers to understand the relevance of policy research as an important ingredient of housing delivery. Such research should focus on the goal and objectives of the housing policy vis-a-vis its implementation, monitoring and review.
Following these 9 practical solutions will go a long way to solving the 17 million housing deficits in Nigeria. By so doing, the nation will be positively affected and enjoy the following benefits of solving the housing deficits in Nigeria;
Impact on the Economy: Housing can serve as an important contributor to the growth of the economy based on its tremendous multiplier effect by its contribution to GDP. It can contribute to GDP through two main channels, namely: private residential investments (such as, construction of new homes); and also via the consumption spending on housing services.
For example, in the USA, the private residential investments contribute about 5% of GDP, while housing services contribute another 13% of GDP, summing up to a total housing sector contribution of 18% of GDP.
Job Creation: Housing provision creates huge access to jobs to artisans and craftsmen such as electricians, welders, masons, painters, plumbers and to other degrees of professional builders such as, civil engineers, architects, structural designers, consultants etc.
From Community to Nation Building: Home-ownership often gives citizens a true stake in their communities. After owning a home, many citizens tend naturally to be concerned about the provision of public goods in their communities — from schools, to clinics, to security.