A diplomat and renowned scholar, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, has appealed to both Nigerian federal and state governments to provide an enabling environment to ensure that citizens have access to affordable housing.
Mr Gambari made the call during his remark at the 3rd Nigeria Affordable Housing Finance and Innovation Summit and Expo, NAHFIS 2019, in Abuja.
The theme of the summit was: “Innovative Solution for Large Scale Delivery of Affordable Housing.”
He said that provision of housing, aside life, remained one of the fundamental human rights of individuals.
According to him, Nigeria has different housing policies at different levels of development which are reviewed and revisited by successive governments, yet there has been outcry over housing deficit.
“Nigeria housing deficit is between the range of 17 to 20 million and it is among low and middle class income earners.
“I wish to appeal to federal and state governments to provide the enabling environment for sustainable development for affordable housing for Nigerians by making land acquisition affordable.
“I also want to urgent the legislative arm of government to urgently consider enacting a law that will allow a certain percentage of the consolidated revenue fund to be allocated to providing affordable housing annually until the housing deficit is cleared.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria should take a lead by creating an intervention fund for mortgage finance at single digit interests rate for first time house buyers.
“Also, PENCOM should provide guidelines to make workers and retirees utilise certain percentage of their pension contribution for repayment of their mortgage.
“There is also the need to address the following challenges to facilitate affordable housing; land acquisition, technology, expert knowledge and skills manpower, building materials, finance and housing laws.
“All stakeholders in the housing value chain must collaborate to solve these challenges,” Mr Gambari stressed.
Speaking earlier, Yemi Adelakun, Chief Executive Officer, Affordable Housing Limited and convener of NAHFIS Expo said there was need to give purchasing power to offtakers to buy houses.
He also stressed that there was the need to turn the want for housing to effective housing demand through adequate access to housing finance at affordable prices.
“We are advocating an effective demand driven approach to solving the problem of delivering affordable housing.
“This approach will enable us determine the need and affordability and funding sources of offtakers before commencing construction.
“For sustainable delivery of affordable housing, offtakers financing must be at a single digit interest rate,” Mr Adelakun said.
Similarly, Prof Charles Ndegwa, Chief Executive Officer, Dynamic Property, Kenya said Nigeria was the China of Africa.
He also said that Nigeria needed to succeed in its housing policies to set the pace for other African countries to follow.
“We cannot leave everything for the government. government has a lot of responsibilities like paying salaries of teachers, civil servants, security personnel etc.
“However, we need to show them how it is done. Kenya did it by using social capital. Nigeria with a population of almost 200 million has the largest social capital in the world.
“Last year alone, Nigerians abroad sent about 14 billion dollars. Imagine if this social capital was set aside for some good use,” Mr Ndegwa said.