How Buhari, Atiku, others plan to tackle housing sector problems

Whoever becomes Nigeria’s president after the 2019 general elections will be faced with the country’s more than 20 million housing deficit burden.

 BusinessDay therefore looked into the manifestoes of the various presidential aspirants in no particular order to know how they plan to spur home ownership that has failed to take off in Africa’s largest economy.

Muhammadu Buhari, the president who holds the record of unseating an incumbent president, said through his administration, he plans to inject N500 billion ($1.4 billion) into the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) over the next five years in an effort to close the country’s housing gap. But in the course of his campaign for the upcoming election, he has not mentioned what he plans to do for the housing sector like his counter parts.

 Meanwhile, Nigeria with the highest population in Africa has one of the lowest mortgages to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate at about 0.5 percent, which obviously lags Ghana’s 2 percent, South Africa’s 30 percent, the U.S rate at 60 percent and that of the UK at 70 percent

Atiku Abubakar, the presidential flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a strong opposition party to the incumbent president said in his prospectus that by the year 2025, “we shall reduce the housing deficit to less than 10 million houses from the current deficit of 17 million.”

He  added that he will “title, record and map all landed assets in the country, review of the Land Use Act and the passage of a revised Land Use Act that is more market friendly, recapitalize the Federal Mortgage Bank and strengthen the Nigeria Mortgage Refinancing Company (NMRC).”

According to Association of Housing Corporation of Nigeria (AHCN), more than 90 percent of new homes utilise funds from personal savings for incremental construction which is as a result of underdevelopment of Nigeria Mortgage sector in driving home ownership, the association says it is “worrisome.”

Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) presidential candidate, Oby Ezekwesili, said she has big plans for Nigeria housing sector and they include “a national housing program to reduce the cost of a starter home for families. In partnership with the private sector, we will reduce cost of these homes by 50 percent while increasing quality.”

She also made mention of launching a new programme that will spur home ownership  “within my first 100 days, I would launch a Naija Home Competition that will call for the design of a standard, affordable Nigerian home which will include two bedrooms, a living room, a bathroom and toilet, and a kitchen.”

She said her plans will lead to at least 80 percent of low-cost housing that will be built and allocated based on income.

Fela Durotoye, the presidential flag bearer of Alliance for New Nigeria political party said he would reduce cost of living which includes; food, transport, housing, and fuel.

 The Social Democratic Party says it will solve the housing deficit through “improved access to finance for housing development.

To achieve this, the party says it will co-opt the private sector through regulatory incentives to housing finance available to more Nigerians at better interest rates. “Review the approach to land acquisition, improve public infrastructure and promote indigenous manufacturing of building materials,” the party said.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s real estate sector has responded differently to the last two presidential elections. Industry experts therefor expect 2019 election to follow suit.

Jide Ogunleye, CEO of Denaro properties Ltd, a business and investment strategies expert with emphasis on real estate, said the 2019 general election will have a lot of impact in the direction the real estate will take.

“As a developer, I have already started getting feedback as regards the forth coming election. If the election goes on peacefully, and regardless of the political party that wins and there a peaceful transition, it is going to hold well for the real estate sector, Ogunleye told BusinessDay.

 Olurogba Orimalade, Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) Lagos State Branch said the real estate sector is going to drag because of the political uncertainties. Although he mentioned the sector will eventually bounce back regardless of whether the present government remains or not.

“It is an election year, so there will be a lot of slow down coupled with the policies and initiatives that comes with a change of government,” he said that is if there will be a change of government.


Endurance Okafor

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