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Who Will Lead the Revolutionary Development in Nigerian Housing Sector

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.

By Ojonugwa Felix Ugboja

‘Next Level’ and Problem of Land Title Regularization in Abuja.

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.

By Ojonugwa Felix Ugboja

Why Abuja International Housing Show Is The Most organized Show In Nigeria

Housing matters to economic development. It can not only boost economic performance and place competitiveness, but it can also lead to segregation and spatial concentrations of poverty.

Click here to watch weekly episodes of Housing Development Programme on AIT

The Government’s housing growth plans induces the opportunity to improve the use of housing as an enabler of economic growth, but housing policy will need to be more responsive to local economic development conditions. In the current downturn, ensuring new homes are delivered of the right type, in the right place, and linked to wider economic outcomes will be all the more important. If housing is treated as an isolated issue, future investment is unlikely to achieve either sustainable growth or the outcomes desired by the Government’s housing policies.

 

It is for the above reason that Abuja International Housing show is committed to bringing all stakeholders together with the goal of Implementing a more integrated response to housing and economic development in Nigeria.

The mission of the 12th Abuja International Housing show is to bring together housing practitioners, advocates and resources so that all Nigerians will have the opportunity to have quality affordable home and suitable living environment.

Abuja International Housing show provides professional consultation services through training and technical assistance on affordable housing and related issues; supports community-based partnerships in leveraging resources; and advocates for policies, programs and use of funding resources that maximize the availability and improve the quality of affordable housing in Africa.

We carry out this mission recognizing that affordable housing is an integral part of community revitalization and economic development.                                                                                                                    

Landlords feel the pinch as Nigeria’s economic slump deepens

There is still no respite for property owners in Nigeria. The sluggish economic growth for the last few months does not bode well for rental market.

The West African largest economy, slipped into recession, with the latest growth figures showing the economy contracted 2.06% between April and June.

The country has been hammered after a plunge in oil revenues, which make up 70% of national income, eroded public finances and currency reserves needed to fund imports.

Perhaps the two most important risks facing Nigeria’s property market sector, this year are an inflationary environment, forex shortages and currency depreciation, said Ortneil Kutama, Africa Property News Media Director.

Nigeria has been trying for months to borrow abroad to fund a record budget to get the economy back on track.

The country had agreed on several reforms, such as increasing its value-added and corporation taxes to offset a loss of oil revenues, he said, adding that the tax-to-GDP ratio was 4% -5 %, less than other countries in the region at around 15 %.

Nigeria abandoned its currency peg in June hoping to attract more inflows. But with hard currency curbs still in place, few foreign investors are willing to put their money to work there, and those who need hard currency have to pay a 40 % premium on the black market.

“There is evidence that tables have turned, and the rental market has decidedly in the tenant’s favour,” says Kutama.

Retail landlords have been offering rental concessions like rent free periods, fit out allowances and pegged exchange rates in order to retain tenants, according to Bolaji Edu, Broll Nigeria CEO.

“Local developers are taking more flexible approaches such as accepting naira based rentals as opposed to dollar,” said Edu.

Read More: 13 Reasons Why you Should Exhibit at the 12th Abuja International Housing & Construction Show 2018

He points out that local retail brands are starting to take-up space at shopping centres outside prime locations in Lagos. These retailers require smaller spaces and often struggle to pay the high rents being charged in malls located within prime nodes.

Despite economic challenges, a total of 19,000m2 of retail space was added to the core and secondary markets during the second quarter with the opening of centres including Onitsha Mall and Maryland Mall.

Other investors continue to see opportunities in the Nigerian retail sector with South African retailer Pick n Pay announcing their entry into the market through a joint venture with Lagos-based AG Leventis, an established local retailer.

Although risks are still abundant with barriers to entry remaining high, Edu says it is fair to say that Nigeria still has specific political and economic risks and outside of Lagos it is difficult to develop without the support of the State Government.

The economy needs to gain momentum in order to help a struggling retailers and return the sector to its former glory days, concluded Kutama.

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