Nigeria with a population of about 180 million people is facing a national housing deficit of about 17 million units.Since independence, there have been several interventions by the Nigerian government to solve these housing deficits in the country.
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.
In order to solve the millions of housing deficits in Nigeria, and achieve sustainable housing delivery in the country, government and stakeholders should adopt the following 9 practical measures;
1.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.
2.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.
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.
4.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.
5.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.
6.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.
7.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.
8.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.
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.