Experts call for policy guaranteeing affordable houses to low-income earners, masses
Some operators in the building industry, on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to evolve an effective housing policy that would guarantee affordable houses to low-income earners and the masses.
The experts are Mr Chudi Ubosi, African President, International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) and Mr Adeleke Adesina, Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) Lagos Chapter.
They gave the advice in separate interviews with media in Lagos, saying Nigeria, with a growing economy, needed more affordable housing units.
Mr Chudi Ubosi, the African President, International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI), said that government could formulate a policy mandating that at least 300 to 500 housing units must be constructed in each state every year.
According to him, this kind of policy will go a long way to reposition the housing issues, particularly when it is accompanied with other societal development.
Ubosi said that successive policies on housing had failed to tackle the numerous challenges facing the house sector.
He said that the government’s housing policy had failed because there was no systematic plan to build houses.
The FIABCI African president, said that it was not enough to build houses that the low-income earners could not afford.
Ubosi stressed the need for government at the state and federal levels to build affordable housing units that low-income earners could afford.
He said that not many low-income earners could afford the housing units being built by the government and private developers.
“Instead of formulating policies that will address these challenges, successive governments’ attempts had been about building houses that were not affordable for the targeted low income group,” he said.
The FIABCI chief listed insufficient capital base in mortgage market, non-availability of secondary markets and lack of credit facilities as some of the challenges which needed the government’s attention.
Contributing, Adesina decried inability of the National Housing Trust Fund Scheme (NHTF) to bridge the housing gap and rise to the challenge of providing funds for Nigerian workers to build houses.
“The scheme is burdened with lots of loopholes that had rendered it ineffective in assuaging the housing needs of workers,” he said.
Adesina regretted that the maximum amount the fund could approve was calculated on the basis of low-income housing.
“But unfortunately, there is either insufficient stock available in that price range or the available housing units are simply not affordable,” he said.
Adesina urged the Federal Government to mobilise relevant parastatal agencies and use the land use reforms, subsidies, building materials, cost reduction programmes and tax exemption status as incentives.
“These incentives will ensure increased housing delivery in the appropriate price bracket,” Adesina added.
He also suggested restructuring of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to position it for better service delivery.
“A fully functional housing finance sector cannot be possible without a functional and sustainable mortgage system,” he told the media.
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