*Lists rising inflation, obsolete legal provisions as major challenges
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa, has said that given the rising deficit nationwide, federal housing agencies under the ministry should be creative in delivering affordable housing to Nigerians.
Speaking during a multi-agency meeting at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja, Dangiwa argued that Nigeria’s problem was not the lack of institutions, but said the agencies had done little to collectively and individually address the housing problem in the country.
The meeting was attended by the leadership of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), Family Homes Fund Limited (FHFL), and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA).
According to Dangiwa, the problem has become more glaring, given the state of the housing market, the estimated size of the housing deficit and the prevalence of slum dwellings.
He also highlights the cost of land acquisition, interest on mortgage loans, among several other challenges, noting that not much progress had been made.
Stressing that the federal government was determined to change the situation, which he described as an “embarrassing narrative”, Dangiwa stated that Nigeria can no longer afford t to move at the current slow pace.
“We no longer have the luxury of time to think about our mandates the way we have always done. With each passing month, each passing year, we are losing time while the problem is compounding.
“Our population is rapidly increasing, and the housing need and demand is rising. We must, therefore, resolve to act in a way that shows the urgency of the moment while taking into consideration the size of the problem we seek to solve,” he added.
Some of the challenges, he said, are either systemic or macro-environment related, such as the rising inflation rate, the Land Use Act, Institutional Establishment Acts of the FHA and the FMBN, the obsolete provisions in the NHF Act, lack of government capital interventions, and other gaps in the housing value chain.
However, he expressed the belief that there still exist areas that can be leveraged despite the challenges to make a greater impact.
“Despite these challenges, I believe that there still exist areas that we can leverage despite these challenges to make a greater impact. During my time at the FMBN, we made historic progress despite these challenges. That is what we should aim to do,” he added.
He highlighted the action plan of the ministry, which includes strengthening the institutional capacity of federal housing agencies, increasing the supply of decent and affordable housing stock and establishment of a National Social Housing Fund (NSHF).
He listed others as the implementation of land reforms to ease land administration and access for private sector players, setting up building materials manufacturing hubs across the six geopolitical zones, development of new cities that are integrated, inclusive, and demand-driven, as well as implementing urban renewal and slum-upgrading programmes.
Dangiwa called for the total commitment of the agencies to collaborate and participate with other housing stakeholders to see to the delivery of the renewed hope agenda for housing.
In his remarks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the NMRC, Kehinde Ogundimu, expressed satisfaction with the policy direction and action plan of the ministry.
He noted that the implementation of the initiatives outlined by the minister will trigger significant development in the housing sector.
“On our part, we’re working to bring about a number of solutions, including the provision of data in partnership with bodies like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Office of the Statistician-General of the Federation, and several others to assemble housing-related data based on the 117 indicators we ascertained through engagement with the association of affordable housing.
“We are also working to dematerialise the entire titling process, find solutions to issues around construction such as technology, materials, cost, etc., and find ways around the scarcity of funds and financing,” he assured.
Also commenting, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Family Homes Fund Limited, AbdulMutallab Muktar, said that rising inflation and low incomes were major challenges to the delivery of affordable housing to Nigerians.
“We’re finding creative ways to deliver more social housing, and I believe collaboration with other agencies like the NMRC, FMBN, and the FHA can create more avenues for social housing delivery to Nigerians.
“Data is important for this to happen and so is improved technologies. We’re working with the NMRC and other bodies on those areas as well,” he explained.
Also present were the MD of the FHA, Sen. Gbenga Ashafa; MD, FMBN represented by the Executive Director, Business Development and Portfolio Management, Mr. Kingsley Chukwuma, and the Managing Director of FHA Mortgage Bank, Mr. Hayatuddeen Auwal.