With the greater percentage of the population still lacking access to decent homes, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Senator Barnabas Gemade has called for urgent legislative action for restructuring of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and Federal Housing Authority (FHA) to bridge the housing deficit in the country.
He regretted that after former President Shehu Shagari’s regime no successive government had embarked on policies of mass housing until the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Senator Gemade spoke at a housing conference on the theme “Addressing Housing Stock Deficit in Nigeria: A Holistic View” organised by the Housing Circuit Magazine in conjunction with the Senate Committee on Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
He noted that apart from the measures, which the federal government has put in place for mass housing, the National Assembly in support of the programme increased the annual budget for housing from as low as N30 billion to N40 billion in 2017.
He said that was not enough since there are still much to be done in commercializing and restructuring agencies of government responsible for housing to boost their efficiency.
Gemade maintained that the FMBN should be facilitated to access the N30 billion Central Bank of Nigeria’s housing fund, while part of the pension funds should be invested in housing programme, adding that this would be made possible as the National Assembly reviews the Pension Act.
The Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Suleiman Hassan who represented the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, lamented that the housing deficit has grown from seven million in 2007 to 17 million in 2017.
The minister who noted that the growing deficit is unacceptably high, said that the federal government is committed to supporting programnes that would bridge the housing gap.
However, he said no country in the world has been able to meet its housing deficit, adding that the problem is worst in developing countries, including Nigeria.
Earlier, the President, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) and Chairman of Housing Circuit Magazine Advisory Board, Rev. Ugochukwu Chime, noted that there had been paradigm shift in housing needs and delivery mechanism.
He regretted that the nation’s laws, regulations, policies and practices were very inadequate and unable to deliver the needed change the nation desperately need.
According to him, “for any housing programne to be successful, issues of acceptability, affordability, availability and sustainability of the houses and it’s processes must be jointly reviewed and resolved by both the private and public sector operators.”