NISH Affordable Housing Limited and Family Homes Funds have convened the first edition of their quarterly workshop on cooperative housing in Nigeria.
The event which took place today at the Shehu Musa Yaradua Centre in Abuja was well attended by representatives of a number of cooperatives in housing from across the country.
According to the MD/CEO of NISH, S K Yemi Adelakun;
“the objectives are to organise, empower, and acquaint cooperative leaders with Innovative Cooperative Housing Principles and sensitise them on how to aggregate members’ equity contributions through savings scheme towards effective and sustainable delivery of affordable housing to Cooperators. The workshop is also designed to strengthen the governance capacity, transparency and accountability of housing Cooperatives through information and communications technology,’’ he said.
Conversations are raging over how to finally establish a lasting and realistic solution to Nigeria’s age-long housing deficit. Nigeria’s housing deficit of up to about 17 million is a constant cause for concern and even embarrassment for housing sector stakeholders, especially those who are committed to making a difference.
There are a lot of stakeholders’ forums in Nigeria. Prominent among them is the Affordable Housing Development Group, established by FESADEB Media, a company with significant impact on the Nigerian housing sector, including the annual Abuja International Housing Show, Housing Development Programs on major TVs and radio stations. On these platforms, stakeholders engage in passionate discussions about the way forward for housing in Nigeria and Africa.
But beyond these discussions, some members have tasked the group and other stakeholders’ groups in the country to move from advocacy to action. There is a new emphasis for the stakeholders to entrench their own ‘Next Level’ of ideas and implementation.
While speaking with Housing News, Fola Alade, CEO of Rapid Shelter Nigeria, charged all stakeholders to not only begin an agenda setting campaign for the government, but to also convert their passion to a portfolio of housing projects across Nigeria.
‘’Through housing, we must change the narrative of Nigeria being the poverty capital of the world. Organisations like FESADEB have over 12 years’ experience in addressing the problem of housing through their recognizable platforms, but we need a collaborative effort to hasten the pace. Housing can be a great catalyst to ending poverty in Nigeria. 75% of Nigeria’s total population live in poverty. Any policy tailored to addressing the problems of these set of people which are the majority will go a long way to tackle poverty. 75% of our budget should go into solving the problems of low income people and those living in extreme poverty,’’ he said.
Speaking further, he stated that president Buhari needs to redeem his commitment to the poor by making them the focus of his administration. But Mr Alade was quick to add that the whole buck doesn’t stop at the president’s table.
‘’He is only one man. We need to support with our own policies and projects to compliment whatever he is doing or going to do with regards to the NEXT LEVEL agenda. The only NEXT LEVEL we should clamour for is the one that will lift the poor people from their current level of poverty to a better position where they can have access to basic needs like housing, healthcare, food and education.’’
According to him, if housing is what brings humans their dignity, then it is time for Nigeria to truly step up as the giant of Africa she professes to be and provide adequate and affordable housing for its huge population.
Critical Options for Providing Affordable Housing in Nigeria
According to Alade, there are two key strategies in meeting the housing demand in Nigeria. ‘’We either decide to build for people in their poverty or create a ladder through which they can climb out of poverty into relative prosperity. So, we choose to do the later. We are going to create employment, business and industrial opportunities that will enable the poorest people in our country be productively engaged, where they will use their sweat equity to get a house. We have to be realistic and think out of the box at this critical time,’’ he stated.
For him, the unemployment and poverty situation in Nigeria can be converted into an amazing opportunity. Through their sweat equity, poor people can use what they have to get what they want.
‘’That is why we are proffering a cashless housing solution, where you don’t need to pay to get the house, but you’d rather work to get it. You can work on the farm, construction site or whatever kind of legal labour to get a house. Site labourers earn minimum of N1500 daily. In 30 days, they will earn at least N40, 000 – N45, 000. So if you are deducting N15, 000 or N20, 000 monthly, at the end of the year, they can save up to N200, 000 to N24, 0000. And that is already 20 – 25% equity contribution to a N1million house.
Corroborating his views, Festus Adebayo, the promoter of Housing Television Programs in Nigeria, also stressed that every stakeholder should recognise their areas of comparative advantage, and offer self for project enrolment.
‘’There are options of what they can do. From land contributions to providing an off-takers network, to mortgages, to building materials at wholesale prices, there are a lot of ways everyone can come in. It is not enough to complain about the government’s inefficiency. As a people we can decide to take actions. When we mobilise ourselves en masse and see our efforts begin to yield, then government can follow suit and give the necessary support. As at today, we have sample houses of 1 bedroom at N1.6m to 2 bedroom for N3m by Hydraform. With more hands on deck, we can achieve more of this,’’ he said.
According to him, Individual and collective effort is what will set the agenda even for the new government before they come-in in May
Exploiting the Minimum Wage for Housing
According to Mr Alade, the real question now is how workers can get a house from the new 30, 000 minimum wage. He said that with a monthly deduction of N10 000, which is one-third of the N30, 000, it is possible to achieve.
‘’We can deduct N300 per day, which adds up to become N10, 000 per month. In one year, a worker can save up to N120 000. This can be called a ‘per day billing’ mortgage system. Even a couple can have a combine daily payment of N750 per day,’’ he said.
Cooperatives Strategy to Generate Off-takers
Another key strategy is unlocking the off-takers option through cooperatives and unions. Once these cooperatives can come together, rally themselves to fund a mass housing project, Alade said it will be easy for the building stakeholders to act on their demands and provide more houses.
‘’We cannot continue to wait for the Federal Mortgage Bank or Family Homes Fund because it will take a lot more time before their efforts are appreciable, especially with regards to the amount of deficit that needs to be bridged.’’
To make this work, he also harped on the need for accountability and transparency in the whole processes involved in ensuring that everyone including the poorest of the poor in Nigeria have their own home. If everyone can realise their place in changing Nigeria, it is his believe that a lot can be done in the shortest time.
Land is one of the major factors of production, which makes it a great asset; especially in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, FCT Abuja. This value placement on land can explain why its title rights or lack of can often generate a lot of controversies.
The FCT occupies about 8000 square kilometres, while the Abuja city covers about 250 square kilometres of this.
The demand for land in the FCT continues to increase as more people and business move to Abuja. Since officially becoming the capital of Nigeria in 1991, most ministries moved from Lagos to Abuja. Even several private organisations have established and continue to strive to have a presence in Abuja given that it is the seat of power.
By the virtue of Section 297 (2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Sections 18 & 1 (3) of the FCT Act respectively has vested the entire 8,000 square kilometers of the land in the Federal Capital Territory to the Federal Government of Nigeria, and is being managed by the FCT Minister under a delegated responsibility.
But unfortunately, there was a previous practise were the FCT local government area councils were arbitrarily allocating lands to individuals and organisations without FCDA authorisation.
In 2006, the FCT administration had directed the Area Councils to discontinue allocation of land and requested that they update and forward their records of allocations for the commencement of the title regularization for thorough cleaning and validation.
To serve this purpose, a private organisation known as ACCTRIS, in partnership with FCDA was tasked to help regularise land titles that were previously given by FCT area councils.
Unfortunately, and according to our sources, the FCDA realised that this objective was not being achieved because of mismanagement. The Administration spotted some illegal allocation of papers being backdated by fraudulent ex-FCT officials and ex-Land officers at the Area Councils; fake letters of allocations and Certificates of Occupancy in circulation as well as farmers, village heads, community heads selling land in the Area Councils, thereby duping unsuspecting members of the public.
On completion of tenure, the partnership with ACCTRIS was not renewed. The FCDA has now allocated that responsibility to its department of land, now domiciled at Abuja Geographic Information Systems, AGIS, whose mandate is to provide a comprehensive, all-inclusive, state-of-the-art, fool proof, computerized, Geospatial Data Infrastructure for the FCT.
This lingering controversy has negatively impacted a lot of people, businesses and organisations. Even FCDA itself admitted that several thousands of Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) as well as Rights of Occupancy (R of O) for Federal Capital City (FCC) titles are unclaimed in the Department of Lands Administration and called on the beneficiaries to come forward with necessary documents for collection.
Obviously, there has been a lot of mismanagement and shady deals, but in the spirit of NEXT LEVEL, many Nigerians believe that government institutions for land, building and housing should be responsible stakeholders and find a way around solving this land title regularisation crisis.
President Buhari is gearing up to constitute a new cabinet that will help the administration achieve its NEXT LEVEL objectives as promised during his re-election campaign. In NEXT LEVEL, the government and its party have promised to deliver on a promise of socio-political and economic elevation for the people. It is therefore the wish of many that this land title crisis in Abuja is looked into as the government plans for the next four years.
According to some Abuja residents who spoke with Housing News, this issue has even affected access to funding for SMEs and other ventures. Some of the cases are still pending in over stretched legal battles.
Stakeholders are also calling on the government to include in its NEXT LEVEL agenda, the mandate of resolving this regularisation crisis once and for all.
Ochulo said that the call was necessitated by the spate of building collapses recently recorded in Aba, which claimed some lives and injured others.
He said that the fact-finding mission had taken the associations to the Town Planning Authorities of Aba South, Aba North and Osisioma Local Government Areas.
He said the mission was aimed at ascertaining the authenticity of the architects involved in the collapsed building and how they got their building approvals.
Ochulo urged the state government to investigate the development and give punishments to builders who cut corners during construction.
He expressed concern over activities of quacks in the state and wondered how they succeed claiming to be architects, getting their drawings approved by Town Planning Authorities without licence and seal of approval as stipulated by the law governing the profession.
“We have a situation of when collapses happen in this state, no panel, no investigation takes place.
“On the part of government, no panel of investigation is set up for culprits to be brought to book so that others will learn.
“That’s why we plead with the government not to sweep these recent incidents under the carpet like the previous ones. Things must be done properly to help everyone.
“We have procedures for checkmating this evil. ARCON has made provisions that before Town Planners approve any drawing, they must see the seal of a registered and licenced architect.
“There’s a security stamp we put on the drawing of every true professional architect, “he said.
He, however, regretted that the drawings of the collapsed buildings which they saw at the Town Planning Office had none of all these things.
“This tells you where the problems are coming from. These are part of the things we are seeing that make us call for serious synergy between us and the Town Planning Authorities.
“The presence of these quacks is a great problem to our profession and the society and when there is a problem like this and we continue with it, we stand the chance of a greater loss ” he said.
Chief Dan Nwankwo who spoke for ARCON said the problem in Abia and the nation at large, was failure of thepeople to engage professionals.
“So, we are urging the people of this state to form the habit of using professional architects and engineers in their projects.
“If they do that, there will be no collapse. Over and above that, they should also accept the advice of these professionals during construction so that the building will stand the test of time”, he said.
Not been unmindful of the expectations of Nigerians as far as infrastructure provisions is concerned, and giving the enormous responsibility he carries, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, last week, reemphasised the commitment of the present administration to the provision of sustainable infrastructure and other amenities.
The Minister, who reeled out the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the areas of power, works and housing in the last three and half years, said the projects executed by his ministry are of high qualities capable of standing the test of time.
Going back the memory lane, Fashola noted that in 2015 when the current administration came into office, the budget left behind for the three ministries, by the previous government was N19 billion for works, N5 Billionfor power, and N1.2 Billionfor housing making a total of N25.2 Billion.
In the year 2017, the budget for works was N394 Billion; Power was N69.96 Billionand Housing was N64.9 Billion (Total N529 Billion).
“However, in a country where the population is growing faster than the infrastructure, the difference between these budgets must tell you that this government is more serious about providing infrastructure to support the people.
“So, if you need more roads, more bridges, more power, more housing and Job opportunities and prosperity that their delivery will bring, your choice in the next election should be easier’,said Fashola, urging Nigerians not to go back to a budget of N25.2 Billion for Infrastructure, but to move forward with a budget for Infrastructure which has grown to N543 Billion in 2018.
To justify his position that the administration is on right footing, the minister compared the difference between these two budget sizes, saying that the last government was spending less on infrastructure for almost one decade when oil prices stayed at $100 per barrel while his government is spending more on infrastructure when oil prices largely hovered between $40-$60.
He also emphasised the fact that over the last 10 years, from the proceeds of oil, Saudi Arabia spent $420 billion on infrastructure. But quickly to add that the issue is not about spending money alone, but rather, about what were done with it; and what was left behind for the current government.
“What was left behind were massive debts owed to contractors who had not been paid for 3 to 5 years and who had laid off thousands of workers and shut down equipment and plants, which was the reasons the economy first went into recession.
Besides, the minister bemoaned a huge debts owed state government’s, that was inherited by this administration. “State governments who were forced to intervene on federal infrastructure especially roads and bridges. That figure stands at about N450 Billion!.
He stated that they were preoccupied with the payment of contractors and that as at today, there is no state in Nigeria where government is not building, at least, one Federal road.
The minister, while emphasising the commitment of government to housing projects, noted that: “ More than anything, we are constructing houses in 34 states in a pilot scheme to determine affordability and acceptability; and we have 90 transmission projects aimed at improving connectivity between the GenCos and the DisCos to increase the power sector.
“On the housing side, as I stated, we are in every state including all the states of the South West except Lagos. Each site employs not less than 1,000 people made up of builders, artisans, fabricators, and vendors of various items with the plan to do much more”, he said.
Buhari, infrastructure Resuscitated projects
The minister also hinted that close to 90 projects that were in moribund state were resuscitated.
“ Close to 90 projects are largely resuscitated because this government has recovered 690 containers of power equipment out of over 800 containers left at the Port for almost a decade because they did not pay contractors, who then could not pay the shippers and warehouse companies.
The Buhari led government, according to him, has done a lot in the area of power and still making progress. The projects are ongoing in Adamawa, Odogunyan) (Ejigbo) (Apo) (Damaturu) are some of those completed Transmission Sub-stations.
Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund
Apparently to hasten road infrastructure development, especially, roads, the minister also hinted that there is now a Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund to ensure that the Second Niger bridge, the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Road, Lagos-Ibadan expressway and some other projects are not deprived of funding again.
He listed major roads in the Southwest like the Lagos-Otta-Abeokuta Road, the Ikorodu-Sagamu road, which had been deserted and left to decay, now have contractors at work.
The Apapa- TinCan – Mile 2 -Oshodi- Oworonshoki road has been awarded and work should start sometime in November this year as the construction equipment are being readied”, he said, noting that the move will give a final solution for the gridlock that was inherited from the last government.
However, he emphasised that its going to take more than one election cycle to consolidate on the progress made so far, stating that unwise choice of those to come into power can reverse the highlighted progress.
“Those from Ondo and environs will agree that although the work is not finished, but travel time on the Benin-Ore-Sagamu road has reduced. Our contractor is on site and has to work while you use the road. The same is true of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway that connects 3 states of Lagos, Ogun and Oyo; and links to Ondo and beyond.
“Those who use the road will acknowledge that you no longer have to spend the night on the road. You can go to Ibadan from Lagos and be sure that you can return on the same day.
“Yet, we have not finished. Please as you prepare to choose next year, remember those long hours on Benin-Ore, Lagos-Ibadan that sometimes stretched into the Night. Do you want to go back ?”, asked Fashola rhetorically.
Statistics to backup claims
According to the minister, the last quarter report of the National Bureau of Statistics for Q2 of 2018 shows the following rate of growth in sectors affected by the Ministry of Power Works and Housing:
Transportation – (Road, rail, water and air) – 21.76percent;
Construction – 7.66percent and Electricity- 7.59 percent.
However, Fashola said he was convinced that it is not just travel time reduction, and economic growth that is impacted, the number of road traffic accidents, injuries and loss of lives are reducing month by month as FRSC figures from June and July 2018 show. While the biggest cause of accidents remains speed violations.
Let me close with some specific comments on power in the South West :- Magboro, Mowe, Ibafo, Ondo (North and South) are communities who were never connected to power supply before.
“That story has changed. They are now connected and experiencing power supply. That is change, because we increased generation from4,000 to 7,000 MW; averaging 1,000 MW per annum; Transmission from5,000 to 7,000MWaveraging 660MW per annum, and distribution from 2,690 MW in May 2015 to 5,222MW in January 2018, averaging844 MW per annum.
“We have not finished and we have not reached everybody yet; but many of you can tell the difference now and attest to the fact that things have changed for the better.
“ I want sincere Nigerians to ask each other, if they use their generator longer today than in 2015 or if they spend less money on diesel today than in 2015, or if you are getting power supply longer today than in 2015.
“Also ask yourself who has done better: 4,000 MW over 16 years at an average 250 MW per annum? Or 3000 MW over 3 years at an average of 1000 MW per annum?”. He asked.
Big Data. Blockchain. Drones. E-Wallets. Artificial Intelligence. These are words that one would expect to hear at the latest conference in Silicon Valley, not during a discussion of Indonesia’s affordable housing challenges. Yet they were buzzing through the captive crowd in Jakarta at the Disruptive Technologies Workshop for Affordable Housing on September 17, 2018. The event, hosted by Indonesia’s Ministry of Public Works and Housing with support from the World Bank’s National Affordable Housing Program (NAHP), was attended by 150 participants from local public agencies, developers, lenders, and community organizations. The workshop’s goal was to explore one big question: How might Indonesia harness the power of disruptive technologies to transform its housing ecosystem?
Indonesia cities are growing faster than those of its Asian neighbors at a rate of 4.1% a year. However, the benefits of urbanization – economic growth and poverty reduction – won’t be fully realized until the country can increase access to basic services and invest in affordable housing for its residents. An estimated 820,000 to 1 million housing units are needed on a yearly basis to meet the growing demand between now and 2030.
Indonesia’s current housing situation dovetails with the rapid development of its technology sector. There is strong start-up culture that has birthed local giants like Go-Jek, which started as a simple ride-hailing app for motorcycle taxis and expanded to over a dozen services, including food delivery, massage booking, and mobile payments. Go-Jek is currently valued at close to $5 billion. Through its ascent, it has revolutionized aspects of life in Indonesia’s cities and contributed to a booming gig economy.
Workshop participants were keen to discover: were there other budding technologies out there, like Go-Jek, which could change the way Indonesia approached housing? Here are a few of the promising pitches that were presented to the group.
iBuild Citizen-centric mobile application that facilitates home self-construction processes
Who it’s for
Households; construction workers; contractors; lenders; developers; policymakers
Why it’s needed
Most housing is self-built, as it’s often the only financially affordable option. Access to credit is limited, and the construction sector is largely unorganized and informal. Government subsidies given towards self-build projects are difficult to track and highly vulnerable to fraud.
How it works
Using the mobile platform, users find contractors and get quotes for projects, purchase materials, track the progress of construction projects, rank quality of services and make mobile payments to vendors. E-wallets help ensure that government subsidies are being used for intended purpose.
Why it’s promising
· Empowers citizens to take control of the home construction process
· Improves transparency, organization, and competition in a huge informal construction sector
· Aggregates data on previously informal transactions to boost inform policy-making
City Planning Lab Affordable Housing Suitability Tool Geospatial planning tool that identifies optimal locations for affordable housing developments
Who it’s for
Spatial planning agencies, central and local government, and developers
Why it’s needed
Government-subsidized housing projects are often poorly located on multiple factors. They tend to be far from the central business district, geographically risky, and lack access to basic services and employment centers.
How it works
Using the online tool, which combines geospatial and satellite data, users can generate a heat map that displays optimal locations, based on a detailed list of critical factors such as access to
Why it’s promising
· Boosts local government capacity to identify more optimal, and thus more successful, locations for affordable housing
· Facilitates collaborative and informed decision making
IBM Blockchain Secure, transparent, and efficient digital ledger that streamlines land titling processes
Who it’s for
Low-income and informal populations; NGO’s; Land Planning Agencies; lenders
Why it’s needed
Nearly 20% of urban slum dwellers don’t have formal tenure on their homes, which means they can’t access formal financing for home improvement. The process for obtaining this tenure in Indonesia is inefficient and costly.
How it works
Networks of community workers survey and map land/ property ownership in a “fit for purpose” manner, and use blockchain – a public, secure, decentralized digital ledger – to streamline the mapping process and accelerate land titling.
Why it’s promising
· Streamlines the process and reduces the transaction costs of obtaining formal tenure
· Provides a uniquely secure, transparent, and tamper-proof method of documentation
Property PriceTag Use of Big Data and new technologies to track housing supply and demand for informed decision-making
Who it’s for
Public agencies; developers; lenders; other key stakeholders
Why it’s needed
Data on the housing market is currently scattered across public and private agencies, and difficult to analyze in real time and on a large scale.
How it works
Big Data is consolidated across various sources, including public and private data, and data gathered through innovative methods (i.e. trained Artificial Intelligence bots that can count the number of individual homes on satellite images).
Why it’s promising
· Equips policymakers and companies to make more timely and informed decisions with regard to the housing market
· Technologies to be incorporated into the development of NAHP’s Housing Real Estate Information System, a real-time housing database used for decision-making by both the public and private sector
The technologies described above are just the tip of the iceberg of what was discussed at the workshop. No longer a luxury of advanced economies, these disruptive innovations hold vast potential to empower informed decision-making, formalize the informal, and radically reinvent housing value chains to transform the affordable housing sector and improve the lives of millions. Of course, as with any technological advancement, there are serious issues to consider and plan for such as consumers’ privacy rights protection and cybersecurity in an age of interconnectedness. It’s a tricky task for any government to navigate, but one well worth the waterfall of benefits.