BACKGROUND TO THE VISION:
Nigeria is a country of about 140m people and is blessed with abundant human and material resources. In the pre independence era, agriculture was the main stay of our economy and accounted for most of our export earning. However since the discovery of oil in commercial quantity, there has been a steady shift in emphasis quite unfortunately from agriculture to oil to the effect that less emphasis was paid to agriculture and our economy today relies heavily on oil as the major source of our foreign exchange earnings. This trend has remained since independence in 1960 and has seen our economy become heavily dependent on export of crude oil. This scenario gave rise to the following:
- a) Unprecedented rural urban migration and the subsequent pressure on our cities as people left the rural areas for the cities in search of employment.
- b) The oil boom days “closed, our eyes” to the need for a diversified economic base.
- c) With little emphasis paid to agriculture, the related establishments in this area like the river basin development Authorities, farm settlements, etc were de-emphasized leading to retrenchment of most of their work force.
- d) Unemployment became amplified as the agricultural sector which has capacity to employ a large number of people as against the oil sector that employ specialized skills and also mostly foreigners was deemphasized.
- e) The nations per carpita income decreased and the spectre of food insecurity became very apparent.
- f) The high rate of rural – urban migration in search of blue collar jobs gave rise to unprecedented urbanization which also brought to the fore the immense challenges of providing affordable and adequate housing.
It was against this back drop that successive governments have made concerted efforts to redress the imbalance and return the country to the path of growth anchored on a diversified economic base. In this wise the year 2000 we were then told was to be the turning point as “everything” was to become available to “every body” in that year. Of course the year came and passed without funfare. We have since the launch of the Vision 2010 and the National Economic Empowerment and Development strategy (NEEDS) at the national level to jumpstart our economy.
It is basically due to the failure of these past programmes that led the present administration to launch the Vision 20:2020.
It was against this backdrop that the present administration in effect latching on to the earlier “visions” launched the vision 20:2020. The vision is aimed at placing Nigeria among the largest economies in the world by the year 2020. Part of the underlying inspiration for the vision was a study on the Nigerian economy published in 2005 by Merrs. Goldman Sachs. The report which considered amongst others, geographical size, demographic trend, resource endowment and the performance of the economy had concluded that if the tempo of our economic performance is sustained, Nigeria has the potential to be among the 20 largest economies in the world by the year 2025. Nigeria is today ranked amongst the NII countries based on the above criteria and the foundation for reform already land.
To achieve the target of the Vision; the country will have to advance from our current ranking based on GDP of 40 to a ranking of 20 in the year
- 2020. It also means that in Africa, Nigeria must rise from our current 3rd position with a GDP of $294.8b to surpass Egypt with a GDP of $432.9b and South Africa ($467.6b), within the same period. The prerequisite, for attaining this position cover political, economic, social, technological and other areas. Politically we need to maintain political stability within the period. Economically, we need to double our present GDP growth rate of about 6.5% and sustain a consistent growth rate of at least 12.5% over the period to get to our desired position (ie assuming the other countries remain static which of course is not possible). Socially and technologically, we also need to make radical changes that will simulate growth in key sectors of our economy in order to raise our GDP from the current $294.8b to of least $900b by 2020.
VISION 2020 AND THE HOUSING SECTOR OVERVIEW:
Housing is second only to food in mans basic hierarchy of needs. The quality and quantity of available housing stock in any country is also a well accepted indices of a country’s level of development and quality of life. Countries, therefore, pay particular attention to the provision of affordable housing, for its citizens. It is also one of the main contributors to any economy as it accounts for a sizeable portion of the production activity through its backward linkages to land markets, building materials, tools, furniture and labour markets and its forward linkages with the financial sector. Housing markets are on important indication of overall Macro economic activity and home ownership is a good measure of household wealth and GDP distribution. The housing finance/mortgage sector also has a tremendous developmental impact both in terms of providing social stability and in promoting economic development. Investment in mortgages promotes a successful economic sector and constitutes personal savings Indeed, a mortgage on ones house is the single largest source of income for the average American household. The effect is even more profound in emerging markets like Nigeria where studies, indicate that personal residences, account for 75% to 90% of household wealth.
Available statistics indicate that investment in housing accounts for 15 –
35% of aggregate investment world wide compared to only 0.4% in Nigeria. Further more housing represents 15 – 40% of monthly expenditure of households world wide.
It was against this backdrop that the vision 20:2020 steering committee in recognition of the importance of housing to the overall goal of the vision made housing one of the thematic areas that was studied by a National Technical working group. In this regard, the vision 2020 committee made a wide departure from the vision 2010 committee that gave the issue of housing only a passing comment in its report.
The report of the National Technical working group on housing deliberated on a wide range of issues and ended with the vision “to make the housing sector one of the top three contributors to the nations economy by adding 10m decent and affordable houses to the national stock by the year 2020”.
This is by no means an easy task as it will amount to adding 1m houses to the stock annually for the next 10 years. As at today housing and infrastructure related sectors contribute about 3.64% to our GDP annually. To be among the top contributors to the economy by 2020, the sector needs to sustain an average growth rate of 15% over the next ten years. To achieve this feat, there will be need to develop the housing market through the availability of housing finance to majority of Nigerians and also provide the legal and regulatory frame work that will attract private investors to develop attractive housing products for that market.
CURRENT HOUSING SITUATION
The near total neglect of the housing sector by successive administrations has led to a housing deficit estimated to be in the region of 16m units. Despite the huge deficit, rural – urban migration remains unprecedented with nearly 50% of the population living in urban areas today as against just 10% in 1952 and 38% in 1993. This rapid growth of the urban population has proceeded in an uncontrolled and unplanned manner giving rise to extensive slums and shanty towns. Infact the world bank estimates that over 80% of the population live in informal housing structures of varying degrees of permanence on land on which they have no ownership rights. Another study indicates that nearly 85% of the population live in single rooms with occupancy rates estimated at between 5 – 8 persons per room. What this means is that most Nigerians are today living in very unsuitable accommodation (where they have any) without basic amenities. Suitable housing “encompasses all the ancillary and community facilities which are necessary for human well being”. From all available data, only a small percentage of houses in Nigeria will meet this criteria.
This issue is: how did we get to this point after nearly 50 years of independence? A brief background in this regard will suffice.
During the pre-independence era, there was no concerted effort at the institutionalization of mass oriented housing projects. The colonial masters were more concerned with the creation of exclusive colonial layouts known as Government Reserved Areas (GRA’s) as well as the provision of houses for the few privileged civil servants, who worked for such utility companies like P & T, ECN, Railways, etc. The only effort at planned mass housing during this period came with the creation of the Lagos Executive Development Board (LEDB), which was created to resettle people displaced by the slum clearance scheme in the Isale-Eko part of Lagos. One of the major achievements of the LEDB was the creation of the Surulere Housing Scheme and the reallocation of the then re-planned central Lagos.
Since independence in 1960, the development of the housing sector can be reviewed along the lines of the Federal Government National Development Plans, which made policy pronouncements on the issue.
The 1st national development plan 1962 – 1968 led to the creation of three regional housing corporations in line with the political division of the country then. They were eventually increased to twelve housing corporations when the country was divided into twelve states. The ratio adapted then was to develop houses at a ratio of 6:3:1 for low, medium and high-income earners.
The second national development plan covered the period 1970 – 74. The then Head of State in his budget speech in 1973 promised to initiate “a massive housing programme”. The target was to construct 15,000 houses in Lagos alone and 4,000 units for each of the other eleven states. The Federal Housing Authority was created and emphasis was placed on credit schemes for the development of individual houses. Priority was also given to low income earners and a recommendation was made for the introduction of industrialized building systems, which was then already popular in Europe. Despite the laudable objectives set out, only 10,500 units of houses were constructed all over the country as against the 59,000 units projected.
The third national development plan covered the period 1975 – 80. This plan for the first time termed housing a social service. To coordinate efforts in this regard, the federal government created the Federal Ministry of Housing and Environment and also established the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to take over the functions of the Nigerian Building Society. Banks were instructed to treat housing as a preferred sector and companies employing 500 or more staff were encouraged to build staff housing estates. The Land Use Decree (now Act) No. 6 of 1978 was also promulgated ostensibly to make land readily available to all Nigerian. Out of a target of 200,000 housing units set for this period, only 32,000 units were completed. There were still no private sector housing development companies committed to building houses for sale.
The 4th national development plan (1980 – 85) encouraged the development of site and service schemes by various tiers of government. A target of 440,000 housing units was set but owing to the repetition of the mistakes of the third plan, the target was hardly achieved.
The period from 1983 – 90 deserves separate mention. This era, which could be termed the post second republic era de-emphasized direct government construction of houses and was characterized by spiraling cost of building materials as a result of the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) by the Federal Government.
In 1991, a new national housing policy was promulgated. The main aim of the policy was to promote and facilitate an operating environment that is conducive and enabling to corporate bodies and individuals in the housing sector and propel the private sector, as the main vehicle for housing delivery. The policy was followed in 1992 with the National Housing Fund, which was created by the government upon realization that the reason for the absence of organized private sector participation in housing delivery was due largely to the lack of affordable sources of long term funds for housing. The fund was therefore to amongst others facilitate mobilization of funds for provision of affordable houses for Nigerians as well as ensuring constant supply of loans to Nigerians for the purpose of building, purchasing and improving their houses. The fund, which was to be contributed to by all Nigerians, banks, insurance companies and the Federal Government was put under the supervision of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, which was also empowered to license and supervise primary mortgage institutions through whom the fund will be disbursed. Despite the laudable objectives of the housing policy, which was aimed at achieving “housing for all by 2000AD”, only very little was achieved. The target of eight million housing units for the period 1991 – 2000 was also largely unachieved. An indication of the lack luster performance of the housing sector can be seen in the residential housing delivery scheme in Abuja where even though 30,000 units were completed by 1991, only an additional 1000 units were completed during the period 1991 – 2000.
The result of the virtual failure of government efforts at mass housing development in Nigeria is the serious housing problem, which the country is today facing. This problem is both qualitative and quantitative and varies from the urban to the rural areas. Whilst the bulk of available accommodations do not meet basic international standards in terms of size of rooms, ventilation, lighting amenities, etc there is regrettably also a physical lack of accommodation all over the country. This problem is, however more in the urban areas due to rural-urban migration. The existence of slum settlements where people live in make shift shelters and very deplorable sanitary conditions is also in the increase. Even in the new Federal Capital City of Abuja, slum settlements are already scattered all around the city.
Development of local content or indigenous building materials have still not picked up as envisaged. Cost of materials have continued to rise with a bag of cement selling far as high as 1,700.00. Interest rate remains very high in the 20% range, which makes borrowing to execute housing projects unrealistic. The operations of the National Housing Fund and the Federal Mortgage Bank have remained at best below optional level. A host of the primary mortgage institutions, which sprang up following the National Housing Policy collapsed while only a few that still exist do very little mortgage business. It must be stressed that the low-income earners who constitute 80% of Nigeria’s population are the most hit by the housing problem. Incidentally past and indeed present efforts at housing delivery have not dealt appropriately with this sector. Following the end of the banking consolidation, banks are now venturing into mortgage banking on a large scale and this has impacted positively on availability of mortgage funds. A lot of the big banks have either set up mortgage banking subsidiaries or offer mortgages as part of their retail business.
The reasons for the failure of past efforts at housing delivery are similar to the reasons for the failures in the overall economy. These has to do with corruption with its attendant over pricing of government contracts, poor supervision, poor planning, lack of fiscal discipline, lack of vital statistics as to our exact housing needs etc. The governments near neglect of the sector has also not helped matters. For instance, there is no current information regarding the available housing stock in Nigeria. The last inventory done by the Federal Office of Statistics was carried out in 1975. Since then, FOS has not been well funded to undertake another inventory. The neglect of the housing sector can again be seen in the failure of the Vision 2010 committee to address the issue in its report. Despite the enormous work done by the Committee pertaining to all spheres of life in Nigeria, only a passing comment was made on housing in pages 100 and
101 of the report. Again despite the enormous funds available to the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) during its operation, the fund was not mandated to intervene in the housing sector.
The promulgation of the National Housing Policy of 1991 was supposed to herald a new era of housing delivery in Nigeria. This, however, was not the case owing to the structural deficiencies that hampered its implementation. These deficiencies, which exist till today and which remain the greatest impediments to housing delivery are:
- 1. Lack of long term funds: As at today, interest rate in the banking sector remains as high as 20% and it is impossible to use such funds for housing development. The mortgage sector remains largely inactive The National Housing Fund, which was meant to be accessed at the rate of 9% is yet inaccessible to the generality of Nigerians due to its cumbersome requirements. It is pertinent to note that the government has realized this and is therefore reviewing the entire process of accessing the fund so as to bring it within reach of beneficiaries. The operations of the Federal Mortgage Bank have also been reviewed.
- 2. The Land Use Decree (now Act) 6 of 1978: This decree, which was meant to make land easily available to all Nigerians has indeed become a major constraint to home ownership in Nigeria. The process of obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy and the consent provisions of the Decree makes transaction in land tedious, time consuming and expensive In developed countries, reliance on properties as collaterals for raising loans for other developments is common. However, in Nigeria this is not the case as the provisions of the decree has made properties unattractive as collaterals. The result is that the market fluidity, which could have been achieved through easy purchase and disposal of properties is still lacking. The inability of a host of people to access the National Housing Fund was as a result of the provision that beneficiaries must purchase only properties covered by Certificate of Occupancy or use only such properties as collateral. The difficulty in obtaining Certificate of Occupancy and the resultant fact that only about 3% of our land area is covered by such title means that owners of such land cannot use them for wealth creation as is done elsewhere in the developed world. Such land without title are at best “dead assets” and has a direct correlation with poverty in our environment simply because people are unable to turn their land assets into capital for their business. The fact that this Decree upon promulgation was made part of the Federal Constitution has not helped matters due to the cumbersome process required to amend the Constitution.
- 3. Poor infrastructural development of the country: The result is that a huge percentage of the population are cramped into those areas where basic facilities exist leading to overstretching of such facilities and high cost of land and finished houses in those area It is evident that our urban cities are in dire need of infrastructural development. Lagos for instance is a city in severe distress due to poor infrastructure like roads, water, power, etc Infrastructural cost account for as much as 30% of the development cost of a property thereby making the eventual cost to the buyers very high. Lack of access roads in particular remain a major challenge and explains why the suburbs and hinterland are not attractive and while land prices in the cities are quite high. As at today, Nigeria has only 195,500km of roads most of which are in disrepair. Compare this with India with 3.4m km of roads. Today Indian road network is still expanding at the rate of 9 km of new roads daily .
- 4. High cost of building materials and the high import dependence of the sector: Our construction sector still relies heavily on imported materials and expertise. The development of local content in this regard has not grown at an appreciable rate Cement which constitutes nearly 40% of building components is still largely imported and remains quite expensive.
- 5. Construction methods: Reliance on the traditional methods of construction has also not helped the sector. Industrialized building systems, which are very cost and time efficient for mass housing projects is still not common.
- 6. Poor development of the nations capital market: Part of the goal of the National Housing policy was to encourage reliance on the capital market for funds for housing development. Except for few cases, this goal is yet to be realized. As at today, there are only about two property development companies quoted on the Nigerian stock exchange and only one functional real estate investment trust (REIT).
- 7. Poor development of the nations mortgage and insurance industries: Long term mortgage at affordable rates is still not available in our economy as should be expected. It is posited that it is nearly impossible for the housing sector to develop without a virile mortgage sector Necessary linkages between the mortgage and insurance sectors should also be created to enable the insurance sector feed the mortgage sector with life insurance funds, which are long term in nature.
- 8. the poor state of the overall economy with it attendant low level of capital accumulation and very high poverty rate which make basic qualification for a mortgage impossible
- 9. Lack of vital statistics: There is yet no reliable data regarding our exact housing need All projections as at now are mere estimates.
- 10. Poor state of public private partnership arrangements at the state and Federal levels. With the level of funding available to the government reducing by the day, funding of projects through the PPP approach should be encouraged. It is noteworthy that this approach is now been used by various levels of government but a lot still needs to be done to institutionalize it. It is pertinent to note that the infrastructure concession an regulatory commission is working hard on this process.
- 11. the present state of both the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Housing Authority also needs to be reviewed to remove the institutional bottlenecks that impede their smooth operation.
- 12. the housing market remains largely undeveloped to the extent that the bulk of the properties for sale are vacant plots even in the cities.
The new democratic dispensation, which commenced in 1999, has brought renewed vigor and opportunities in the housing sector. Apart from politicians striving to provide affordable houses for their citizens, more financing options also exist locally and internationally coupled with the influx of overseas construction firms, who are trooping in to take advantage of the immense opportunities existing in this sector. The result is that various state governments are at present executing one housing scheme or the other either directly through their state housing corporations or in partnership with the private sector. In Lagos State for instance, the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation is involved in various housing schemes all over the state. Indeed the success of the LSDPC in raising funds for its projects from the banking sector is impressive. This can only be attributed to the ready market available for the houses. Banks are therefore, ever willing to raise funds for the Corporation as most of their projects are sold out even before completion. It is remarkable that despite the various inefficiencies associated with LSDPC projects in terms of construction methods adopted, supervision and quality of finished houses, the houses are still sold out and the projects still turn out profitable.
Despite all these efforts, it is regrettable to note that the low-income earner is yet to be catered for. As a result there is heavy reliance on rental housing which in itself is grossly inadequate both in qualitative and quantitative terms leading to exorbitant rents. As at today, the average worker spends as much as 40% – 50% of his salary on rent. Very little is therefore saved at the end of the month. The result is the inability of the low-income earners in particular to benefit from the various housing projects. The cheapest LSDPC flats in remote locations in Lagos sell for as high as N3m. This is an enormous sum for a low income earner to save considering that based on present rules he may not qualify for a mortgage.
The Nigerian housing market remains largely untapped and portends immense potentials for investors. Recent reports put our urban growth rate at 5 – 7% per annum, which makes Nigeria one of the most rapidly urbanizing countries of the world. Over 50% of the country’s population live an urban areas. As at today, over 80% of our urban population is yet to be suitably housed. Immense opportunities, therefore, exist in this sector especially for companies with requisite expertise and technology for mass oriented housing delivery. This is because housing delivery for the low income cadre can be more easily achieved through the use of industrialized building systems which are prone to achieve construction at lower unit costs and at a faster rate than our traditional methods.
In recent times government has made concerted efforts at reversing the poor trend in our housing stock through reassessment and review of various existing policies and reenactment of new ones. The government had indeed earlier subscribed to the attainment of housing adequacy by
2015 as one of our millennium development goals. The importance ascribed to housing in the vision 20:2020 is therefore no doubt first a realization of past failures at achieving the housing goal and also an attempt to adopt new approaches towards attaining the goal. This is because, sustainable housing delivery apart from the stable polity it portends is also a veritable vehicle to stimulate the nations economy. Available data indicate that on world wide basis, the housing sector employs about 10% of the population.
Recently, the government has set up a committee to review the operation of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria in order to make it more focused. The government has also forwarded an executive bill to the National Assembly seeking to review sections of the land use act especially the consent provisions. This is apart from the fact that one of the cardinal programmes of this administration in Land Reform for which to high powered committee has also been set up.
The Federal Housing Authority is increasingly adopting the PPP approach for its projects and this has helped the agency to complete some of its projects. The FHA has also encouraged the “New town Development” approach by deliberately sitting its new projects out of the cities so as to encourage the shift in population and reduce the pressure on urban facilities.
The management of Federal Mortgage Bank has also made relevant changes to its operation in order to make access to the National Housing Fund easier and more useful for the population. The maximum loanable sum has been increased to N15m from N5m and the Bank has also recognized other financial institutions like pension fund administrators, insurance companies, and micro finance banks and the regular banking institutions as mortgage loan originators. As at December 2009, contributions to the National Housing Fund stood at N52b. Regrettably, the Bank has only funded 35,000 mortgages since the inception of the National housing fund. At present, the contribution of construction and the real estate sectors to our GDP stands at only 3.64% which is well below the world average. However, it must be noted that the sector is about the fourth fastest growing sector of the economy with on annual growth rate of approximately 12% following after, the telecommunications and post sector (34.19%), the hotel and restaurant sector (12.94%) and the solid mineral sector (12.53%).
Regrettably if the goal of 10m housing units envisioned by vision 20:2020 is to be achieved, a lot still needs to be done to facilitate its delivery. At present FHA is only hoping to deliver 100,000 units between now and 2013. Compare this with its equivalent in South Africa which delivered 249,000 house units in 2008 and 240,000 units in 2009. Indeed over two million housing units has been built since 1994 when multi party democracy took off South Africa.
According to the vision 20:2020 document, Nigeria is ranked 40th amongst world economies by GDP. If the aim of the vision is to be attained for Nigeria to emerge in the 20th position by the year 2020, it means that Nigeria must grow and surpass the countries presently ranked 21 – 39 which are, Hongkong, Czech republic, Malaysia, Colombia, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Finland, Thailand, South Afirca, Venezuela, Argentina, Iran, Denmark, Greece, Taiwan, Austria, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium.
This will certainly be a tall order. It must however be pointed out that size of GDP is not necessarily a good measure of standard of living/quality of life. Earlier in this paper, the availability of decent affordable housing was indicated as a good measure of a country’s standard of leaving/quality of life. Whilst Nigeria is ranked 40th in terms of GDP because of the sheer size of our economy, we are ranked 144th when GDP per capita (of the population) is considered and ranked 158th in the world Bank human Development index which effectively measures the standard of living. An analysis of these rankings indicate that a lot needs to be done. Since the commencement of the vision, it is doubtful that substantial work has been done to put the country in a footing to attain the goals it set out.
From the foregoing, it can be seen that if the overall targets set for housing in the vision 20:2020 is to be achieved, a lot will certainly need to be done.
The said overall housing objectives of the vision are:
- a) Contribute to Nigeria quest of the vision are of achieving a $900b GDP by 2020 which amounts to an average GDP growth of about 15% per annum
- b) Formalize home ownership through credit to at least 50% of Nigerian families by year 2020
- c) Build 1m new homes every year giving a total of 10m units by year 2020.
- d) Simplify land administration procedures for conversion of customary titles to statutory titles to capture the majority of the under served market
- e) Mobilize more household savings for housing through PMI and Micro finance operations
- f) Provide access to credit to existing stock of homes so as to stimulate economic activities.
To achieve the above aims, the following recommendations are put forward:
- a) The governments land reform agenda should be pursued vigorously. With available data indicating that only about 3% of our land has registered title, it means that the bulk of our land areas falls within the category of “dead capital” as they can not be used to create wealt The process of titling every parcel of land in the country should be embarked upon in order to give every land owner a secure title for his land. Before this is achieved, the National Assembly should take steps to pass the executive bill sent to it with regards to the review of the consent provisions of the Land Use Act. There is no doubt that this provision is one of the greatest impediments in our land administration system. Whilst awaiting the passage of the bill, state governments are encouraged to simplify and lessen the cost of obtaining consent to land transactions.
- b) Government should commit to make massive investments in the area of infrastructure in order to lessen the eventual cost of new homes, increase living standards, reduce the cost of land, encourage people to live outside the cities, etc. Lack of infrastructure most especially roads is a major source of the high cost of land and undue pressure on urban facilities as most people tend to populate the cities which has only but semblance of infrastructure. Regrettably infrastructure which is key to housing was not given adequate attention in the vision 20:2020 document.
- c) There is a need for extensive training and retraining of man pow It is regrettable that not only do we lack qualified experts in the building industry, there is also now a dearth of artisans to the extent that this group of workers now come from neighbouring countries to work here. Government should open all closed vocational and technical colleges and indeed establish new ones to train the necessary manpower in this area.
- d) The primary mortgage institutions should be adequately recapitalized and supervised to prepare them to be a veritable channel for mortgages to beneficia Effort should also be made to reduce interest rates to the single digit level to make the loans affordable and attractive. Contributions to the National Housing Fund should also be enforced to ensure that every body and all sectors contribute to it.
- e) The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Housing Authority should both be strengthened and privatized to remove the bureaucratic bottlenecks that tend to slow their operatio Both bodies should play the role of facilitators for operators in the market.
- f) Research into the sourcing and production of alternative building materials to reduce our dependence on imported materials should be encouraged. Local production of cement in particular should be encouraged with all necessary incentives to investors in this area.
- g) There is a need for the institution of adequate legal and institutional frame work that will enhance the growth of the housing sector. These include the institution of mortgage insurance and title insurance as well as the review and reenactment of our foreclosure/power of sale law At present the difficulty in foreclosing on a property at the default of a customer has made reliance on properties as collaterals very unattractive. A review of all such laws including repossession laws under the existing landlord/tenant laws will enhance investment confidence.
- h) The National Assembly is encouraged to take steps to pass the 11 housing related bills presently before it to create the necessary enabling environment. Such bills include the executive bill on the amendment of sections of the land use act,
the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria act 1993 (replacement), the National Housing Fund 1992 (replacement) etc.
- i) As a way of reducing the cost of new houses especially for low income earners, government should engage in targeted subsidies for this class of peopl One way of doing this is to make land available at no cost to developers to develop low income homes in selected areas to be managed by local government authorities. Where as the private sector will be the
main vehicle for property development, it is believed that to cater for low income earners, local governments should be encouraged to engage in construction and the sale of low income houses to people. This process will be easier to control at the local level in order to ensure that the targeted and people are benefitted.
- j) The National Bureau of Statistics and the National Building and Road Research Institute should be were funded to collect and prepare vital data on the building industry that will be used for decision making.
- k) Polices that will enhance the growth of the overall macro economy should be implemented in order to ensure the reduction of the poverty level which is very high at present. High poverty rate naturally makes qualification for mortgages for those in that category nearly impossible.
- l) Poor policy implementation remains a major problem in our polity. Key implementation strategies should therefore be mapped out and followed to ensure achievement of the set goal
The government must work hard to create an enabling environment for the private sector to act as the engine of growth in the housing sector. Such enabling environment must include the reduction of interest rates to single digit levels and the creation of a virile mortgage sector catering for both the employed and the self-employed. The operation of the National Housing Fund must be strengthened and enforced to enable it attract the necessary contributions from both the employed and self-employed, which will provide the necessary long term funds for the revitalization of the housing sector. It is indeed recommended that the government should consider the use of funds from unclaimed dividends and dormant accounts in banks, which presently runs into billions of Naira to intervene in the housing finance sector to bring down interest rate. The general trend worldwide is to encourage homeownership as this apart from the security and stable polity it portends, will enable better maintenance and management of such properties.
For the objectives of vision 20:2020 with regards to housing to be achieved, fundamental changes will need to be made immediately with regards to our existing strategies especially in the area of implementation and “local professionals must drive growth and development if it is to be sustainable”.
Unfortunately, there is no concrete evidence of either the drive, willingness or resources to attain the vision since it was formulated. The challenge remains daunting and only a concerted effort will reverse the trend.
- 1. Professor Akin Mobagunje; Land Management in Nigeria: Issues, Opportunities and Threats; Lead Paper presented at the National Conference in Land Management and Taxation organized by the Department of Estate Management, University of Lagos, July 2002.
- 2. C. Asiodu: The Place of Housing in Nigerian Economic and Social Department; Paper presented at the 3rd Annual Distinguished Lecture of the S. O. Fadahunsi (Housing) Foundation, March 2001.
- 3. Chief D J. O. Sanusi; Mortgage Financing in Nigeria: Issues and Challenges, Paper presented at the 9th John Wood Ekpenyong Memorial Lecture, January 2003.
- 4. Report of the Vision 2010 Committee, September 1997.
- 5. A. Omotola, Essays on the Land Use Act 1978, Lagos UniversityPress, 1984.
- 6. The Land Use Decree No. 6 of 1978.
- 7. Harnando de Soto; The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and fails elsewhere (2000).
(Lead Paper presented to the 40th Annual Conference of The Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Lagos 29th April 2010.)