Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Thursday said that available data on housing the deficit in Nigeria are deficient, as the government is yet to have reliable data on housing deficit.
This is as Fashola refuted claims that Nigeria currently has a 17 million housing deficit, adding that “there is no statistical basis for such claims.”
He pointed out that a country with many empty houses cannot be classified as having a housing deficits.
The minister affirmed that the actual housing deficit in Nigeria cannot be ascertained until another census is conducted in the country.
Fashola while speaking at the weekly ministerial briefing organized by Presidential Communication Team at the presidential villa, Abuja on Thursday, argued that the pressure on housing in the country was caused by rural-urban migration, which he said creates a supply problem.
Housing deficit has been a major challenge for Nigerian governments, with successive regimes coming up with policies to address the issue, many of which had failed to provide housing for the teeming masses.
But Fashola pointed out that “Nigeria’s housing problems are the direct result of rural-urban migration which has created a system of demand and supply problem, in urban centers”
Fashola said “It is logical to say we have that housing deficit when you have empty houses. No such deficit exists anywhere in the world.”
He revealed that he had consulted with International organizations including the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDP) and confirmed that the 17m housing deficit reports in Nigeria are not correct.
“We are not in a housing crisis and this subject of a full discussion. My take is that the housing shortages, essentially, in all parts of the world, are in the urban centres and not in the rural areas. So, it is a problem that has come as a result of urbanization. People move from rural to urban centers and create a supply and demand problem.
“You will find that many of the people in urban centers like Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, Abeokuta, etc, seeking to squat with somebody or trying to rent a house, has an empty home in his village.
“In the urban center again, you will see that there are still empty houses. We have to discuss housing on two paradigms of ownership and rentals because no nation provides free housing for its citizens.
“One of the things we try to address is to urge states to intervene in the management of rents. So, as long as people still have to pay three years rent from salaries that are earned monthly in arrears, there will still be problems of affordability.
“I have been asking where that data came from because I like to dimension what I have to manage. The first response I got was from World Bank. I met with the country manager of the World Bank, who said they did not have an idea of where the figure came from.
“Somebody said, well, maybe it was Africa Development Bank. I also met the country manager who said, no, it wasn’t from them. I also asked the National Bureau of Statistics and they said they don’t have such figures.
“So, nobody could tell me where the figure came from until I found it.
He therefore advised that they should be disregarded.
On tolling policy, Fashola revealed that the federal government will soon unveil it. The new policy which is being rolled out under the highway development initiative will come into force after the approval by the Federal Executive Council FEC.
That initiative has progressed, “we have received it, we have received it, qualified people, and we are now going to ask them to send their proposals. I am not going to go ahead of myself, because, we are finalizing a tolling policy that will come to the Federal Executive Council and it will be considered by the government.”
He disclosed that government has organized a stakeholder meeting ahead of the implementation.
Not too far from now, you will see us implement the next process.
He disclosed that government has also concluded to include maintenance costs in budgets of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the federal government effectively from the 2022 fiscal year.