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It will be recalled that Ms Pepple, had declared that the progress report showed that the ministry could actually exceed the target and extend the benchmark to about 50 per cent, because, according to her, provision of afford-able housing was one of the key performance indicators of the ministry.
“We are looking at the funding that we can generate from the private sector. Housing cannot be done alone, we need funding from the private sector. That is why we have held talks with the Ministry of Finance on this issue,” she had explained.
All these mentioned by the minister alongside the recently launched Cooperative Housing Scheme, which is aimed at providing housing for low and middle-income earners, are some of the attempts made by the government to solve the housing shortage in the country.
However, experts in the built environment have warned that such a bold move would amount to mere paper talk, except some basic issues affecting housing are settled first.
The experts, while lauding the achievements made by the government so far in the quest to reducing housing shortage, have also urged the minister to ensure that more efforts are put in order to achieve this, because according to them, words without action would bring no solution.
According to the President of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Mr Emeka Eleh, one way this can be done is for the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) to be strengthened so that it can play its role, which is to develop houses at subsidised rates. Such subsidies, according to him, can come in different forms including land development, direct assistance, as well as assistance in terms of infrastructural development.
“Because the most important cost in land development is infra-structural cost, even if the government gives out land in places such as Abuja, such lands will be in a far-flung places, and before one could build roads and provide water, as well as electricity, then the cost of development will be very high. Therefore, as government seeks to provide housing, it must also work toward infra-structural develop-ment, because if infra-structural facilities are already provided, then about 25 per cent of the total cost of providing housing is taken care of,” said Mr Eleh.
Speaking further, the NIESV boss also asserted that “the major reason places such as Lagos and Abuja are crowded is because people want to live where there is a measure of infrastructural develop-ment provided, so we enjoin the govern-ment to invest more in infrastructure because unless this is done, people will keep on rushing to such places, and by so doing the cost of houses in such places will remain very high.
Speaking in the same vein, the immediate past president of NIESV, Mr Bode Adediji, in an interview with Property and Environment, insis-ted that “the government should revamp the economy through the engine available within the real sector of the economy, so that we can turn away from the culture of cash and carry, trading, and so on. Once the government focuses on youth and the economy, employment issues among the youth will become a thing of the past.”
Mr Adediji further added that “the government must also realise that finance is not really the key issue in housing development; rather, it is creating an enabling environment whereby people have access to land; where people are not confronted with bureaucracy in terms of application for certificate of occupancy, filing for town planning approval, and so on. Government must take a holistic view to ensure that people who have resources to go into the business and housing construction are not in any way discouraged.”
A call was also made for the government to pay proper attention to the mortgage system in the country, especially through the apex mortgage institution in the country, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), because it is a major source of funding of the housing sector.Share