Dangiwa: Driving Nigeria’s Housing, Urban Development Agenda

 John Mark Ikyaave

Housing is a basic need. According to the United Nations (UN), every human has a right to adequate housing. This means it should be safe, affordable, comfortable, easy to access, in a good location and suitable for their culture.

However, while housing is a right, it depends on the financial ability of households. It is also defined by the ability, capacity, and will of government. Without the support of the government, it is hard for people to access decent, quality, and affordable housing. The role of government is therefore critical not only in the provision of housing but in creating the enabling environment for its provision.

In Nigeria, the issue of housing remains a major challenge. The country has a dual challenge of inadequate housing supply to meet its teeming population growth, and substandard housing that is not safe, habitable, comfortable with access to infrastructure.

A research by PWC shows that Nigeria’s housing need occasioned by ineffective demand, due to inability to pay for housing units despite willingness, is estimated at 26.40 million units.

Although there has been no shortage of policies and programmes over the years, effective implementation has been poor. There are also several systemic challenges in the housing ecosystem that remain unsolved. These include difficulties related to accessing land, deficits in infrastructure, escalating construction costs, subdued demand from households because of macro-economic challenges, and insufficient access to financing options for affordable housing. Experts agree that fixing these problems requires a holistic approach that considers the critical linkages across the housing ecosystem.

The Renewed Hope Vision for Housing

Under the Renewed Hope Vision of President Bola Tinubu, the government listed housing as a critical social infrastructure alongside roads, bridges, airports, and dams, among others. To ensure a more coordinated and focused implementation of reforms in the sector, the president demerged the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development from Works and made it a standalone Ministry.

He went on to appoint a team of proven sector professionals to lead the sector’s transformation: They include Mr. Ahmed Dangiwa, a highly accomplished administrator with a wealth of experience spanning over 30 years in administration, real estate, mortgage financing, and housing development, as Minister of Housing and Urban Development and Abdullahi Gwarzo, a former Deputy Governor of Kano State as the Minister of State.

Ten months in and the outlook for Nigeria’s housing and urban development space is becoming increasingly promising as the Tinubu administration inches towards one year come May 29, 2024. This optimism is based on the clear-sighted leadership at the Federal Ministry of Housing.

 Since assuming office on Monday, August 21, 2023, Dangiwa has led the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to develop and commence implementation of a Strategic Housing Reform plan in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr. President.

 Renewed Hope Cities and Estates Programme

A notable component of the Strategic Housing Reform Plan of the ministry under the leadership of Dangiwa is the Renewed Hope New City Development Plan. Under the plan, the ministry aims to lead partnerships with the private sector, local and international investors, towards redefining the concept of cities in Nigeria and decongesting city centres and state capitals in line with the president.

The flagship initiative under the New City Development Plan is the Renewed Hope Cities and Estates Programme. In February 2024,  President Bola Tinubu, officially launched the programme with the ground-breaking ceremony for a 3,112-housing unit Renewed Hope City in Karsana, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as part of 20,000 housing units to be built in Abuja. 

The project is the pilot under a Public Private Partnership between the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and a consortium of developers comprising Continental Civil and General Construction and Ceezali Limited signed in December 2023 to deliver a total of 100,000 houses nationwide. 

Under the PPP arrangement, the ministry is creating the enabling environment and facilitating off takers for the houses through the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) while the developers will source for land and finance the construction. This will take the financial burden off government while meeting citizens needs for decent and quality shelter.

A Nationwide Footprint

Under phase one of the Renewed Hope Cities and Estates Programme, the ministry plans to deliver a total of 50,000 housing units across Nigeria. The Cities will have 1,000 housing units per site in one location in each of the six geo-political zones in the country and FCT, while the estates will have 500 housing units per site in the remaining thirty (30) States.

The ministry has designed the Renewed Hope Cities as integrated living communities targeting all income brackets. They comprise one-bedroom blocks of flats, two-bedroom blocks of flats and three- bedroom blocks of flats; two-, three- and four-bedroom terraces, four-bedroom duplexes, and five-bedroom duplexes.

On the other hand, it has conceptualised the Renewed Hope Estates to cater to low- and medium-income earners. They comprise one, two, and three-bedroom semi-detached bungalows. To enhance affordability and ease of offtake, it used organic designs where one bedroom can be expanded to two-bedrooms and three-bedrooms as the income of beneficiaries increase over time.

Furthermore, the programme aims to address social inequality by providing a broad range of affordable homeownership options. This includes single digit and up to 30-year mortgage loans to be provided by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Rent-to-Own options where beneficiaries can move in and pay towards homeownership in monthly, quarterly, or annual instalments and outright purchase for high income earners.

The funding for these projects is to come from a mix of sponsors comprising the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development’s budgetary allocation, the FMBN, and Public Private Partnerships with reputable developers.

Catalyst for Economic Growth

The Renewed Hope Cities and Estates Programme is not only a grand vision; it is a necessity for many reasons. As Nigeria’s population continues to grow, the demand for housing and urban infrastructure is rapidly growing.

Existing cities are grappling with issues like congestion, inadequate housing, and strained infrastructure. Establishing new cities and estates also provides an opportunity for Nigeria to deliberately plan and design urban spaces that are not only beautiful additions to our landscape but also efficient and sustainable. This is more so given the climate challenges that we face and to ensure that the housing sector contributes its quota to helping our country meet its green gas reduction targets.

The Renewed Hope Cities and Estates Programme is designed to be a catalyst for economic growth. The construction and development of these new areas will generate employment opportunities, stimulate local businesses, and attract investments.

 The 50,000 units that the Ministry plans to deliver under phase 1 will create 1,250,000 direct and indirect construction jobs. This is in addition to the value chain effects of purchase, supply of building materials, businesses around the construction sites, etc.

The programme also aligns with the government’s broader vision of national development and marks a practical step towards creating smart and modern cities that can compete on a global scale, attracting both domestic and foreign investments.

The groundbreaking of the 3,112-housing unit in Karsana, Abuja is just only one of many more to follow. The ministry has scheduled other groundbreaking ceremonies for several additional sites nationwide under the Renewed Hope Cities and Estates in the 2nd quarter. This includes 2,500 Renewed Hope City housing units at the Ibeju-Lekki Coastal City, Lagos, the development of a 500-housing unit Renewed Hope Estate in Kano and 250 housing units in twelve (12) states (2 per geopolitical zone) as Renewed Hope Estates. This amounts to 6,000 housing units under the 2023 Supplementary Budget.

From the 2024 Approved Budget of N18.9billion, the Ministry plans to roll out another batch of Renewed Hope Estates comprising 250-housing units each in 6 additional states totalling 1,500 housing units.

The implication is that from the housing component of the Supplementary Budget and the 2024 budget, of N100 billion and N18.9 billion respectively for Renewed Hope Cities and Estates and Urban and Slum Upgrading programmes, the Ministry is set to deliver 7,500 affordable housing units that will cater to the average Nigerian worker.

A Commitment to Project Completion

The Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development under the leadership of Dangiwa has also demonstrated a firm commitment to ensuring that Nigerians get value for the money that government has injected into housing projects. This includes ensuring the completion of all abandoned government housing projects and easing the process for Nigerians to own them.

A good example are the pragmatic steps taken so far to fast-track the sale and occupancy of 2,870 completed housing units, built between 2017 and 2022 under the National Housing Programme (NHP).

In November 2023 the Ministry advertised in the national dailies for interested Nigerians to apply and received a total of 8,925 Expressions of Interest. This comprises 1,294 persons who applied for Outright Purchase of the units, 2,408 through a Mortgage arrangement, 2,184 under the FMBN Rent-To-Own product, and 3,039 for Instalment payment.

Recently, the ministry announced that it had processed the first batch of Provisional Allocation Letters for Nigerians seeking to pay outright for the completed units. What is interesting about the Ministry’s approach is that despite the rising cost of construction materials, the houses are still being offered for sale at the prices that were fixed in 2017.

 This includes 1-bedroom semi-detached bungalow at N9,268,751.80, 2-bedroom semi-detached bungalow-Type A at N12, 398,460.20, 2-bedroom semi-detached bungalow-Type B at N10,833, 606.00, 3-bedroom semi-detached bungalow at N16, 491, 155.80, 1-bedroom in condominium block at N7, 222,404.00, 2-bedroom in condominium block at N9, 148, 378.40 and 3-bedroom in condominium block at N13, 241, 074.00.

The bullish drive of the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to implement the Renewed Hope Cities and Estates Programme and the commitment towards ensuring that the inherited National Housing Programme works and delivers value to Nigerians provide signs of hope for the millions of Nigerians seeking to own a home.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Dangiwa and the Minister of State, Gwarzo deserve the support of all stakeholders as they seek to increase stock of affordable housing units towards meeting the Renewed Hope Vision of providing decent and quality housing to all Nigerians.

Ikyaave is an Abuja-based housing policy analyst

President Bola Tinubu & Ahmed Dangiwa at the groundbreaking of the 3,112 Karsana Renewed Hope City in Abuja.

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