17 states fail in housing as agencies remain dormant

AHCN  Association of Housing Corporation of Nigeria (AHCN) advocates for an affordable housing development fund.
Dozens of states have failed to provide new homes for their citizens within the last three years amid a growing population and housing deficit in the country.

A new assessment on the state of housing in Nigeria shows that some state agencies have not built any house in the past two to four years, while others have increased their stock through private sector intervention. Only a handful of agencies have remained vibrant and delved into a housing development.

It was gathered that the major challenge that affected past mass housing delivery is political interference, which most often affects projects. There is no continuity of housing programmes and policies by successive governments as each regime usually jettison whatever housing programmes put in place by preceding government.

Among the states that have failed to make an impact in the industry are Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Kebbi, Ondo, Osun, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto and Zamfara.

States listed for increasing stock, according to the assessment by the Association of Housing Corporation of Nigeria (AHCN) are Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Taraba and Yobe.

The report further revealed that in most states, there have been politically motivated derailment of policies for selfish reasons such as settling political cronies.

AHCN President, Dr. Victor Onukwugha, said the governments both at the federal and state levels have done very little over the years to respond to social housing and address increasing housing deficit.

He said: “There is urgent need to deviate from this political sentiment and quagmire with departure from the usual practice of discrediting viable policies of past regimes.

“Our leaders are implored to embrace progressive ideology whether instituted by their government or not, irrespective of political affiliation in implementation and execution of viable housing policies and programmes and seek to pursue sustainable delivery of affordable housing on a large scale to reduce in the country.”

“Although, there is no accurate statistics of the housing shortage in Nigeria, the usual quoted estimated figure has been in the range of about 20 million housing shortages. It is however worrisome that efforts put in place over the years to address these deficits have not really yielded notable and anticipated results.”

According to him, the poor implementation and non-execution of public housing programmes both at the federal and state levels based on the overall framework of the housing policy have continued to create a problem for the sector.

“Social housing is virtually unattractive to our governments as there are no profound commitments to affordable housing, especially at the federal level. Land accessibility and availability are cumbersome with the high cost of titling and documentation coupled with slow processing timeline, which discourages investment into the sector. Slum settlements are springing up in our major cities without notable government’s plan of resettlement or redevelopment.

“Local building materials manufacturers are therefore struggling to exist amidst notable apathy of the general public to make use of their end products. Few building materials manufacturers that defy all odds are not supported with enabling environment and incentives to embark on mass production as poor infrastructure discourage sustenance of vibrant local building materials production which in effect result in the high cost of materials.”

“Our mortgage market is crawling when we have a vibrant platform that can create unhindered access to affordable mortgage as well as an exit point for developers who invested in housing. The prevailing mortgage rate outside six per cent National Housing Fund (NHF) mortgage range between 15 per cent and 25 per cent, which is not assisting the affordability and accessibility of housing.”

Onukwugha called for the creation of a Special Development Fund under Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervention fund for State Housing Corporations and Federal Housing Authority (FHA) for rental and affordable mass housing provision to ensure the continued flow of finance for the sector.

The Affordable Housing Development Fund, according to him, should be solely managed by a special project vehicle in collaboration with the CBN, while state housing corporations and Federal Housing Authority (FHA) should be responsible for the construction.

Under the proposal, all the existing landed properties of FHA and abandoned estates buildings in all the states of the federation should be converted to rental housing and funded from the proposed fund.

“For those land and estates at the outskirt of cities, arrangements should be made for the development of all the infrastructure, especially roads to open up such estates to attract patronage and such development should be funded from the intervention fund.

“Alternatively, some of those commercially oriented estates in major cities could be traded as equity contribution by the FHA for the immediate development of housing estates for outright sale for middle and high-income earners,” he added.

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