Economic Growth: Address Housing with a Radical Approach – HDAN Tasks Incoming Govt
Housing is so critical for economic growth and development because of its impact on major macroeconomic indicators such as employment, savings, investment and labour productivity.
To improve the affordability of housing for low and middle income Nigerians, Housing Development Advocacy Network, HDAN, a leading and pioneer non-governmental organization, has tasked the incoming government to employ a radical approach to address issues and deliver affordable housing for Nigerians.
A statement signed by the Executive Director of HDAN, Festus Adebayo in Abuja, noted that while the federal government under former President Goodluck Jonathan had made appreciable effort in its bid to provide affordable housing, President Muhammadu Buhari, on the other hand, has since 2015 done less than required to change the narrative in this regard.
Adebayo lamented the current situation where housing is not a part of the first five top priority areas, stating that it is appalling as it remains the most compelling index in measuring the growth of the economy in developed countries like America and not oil.
According to him, the government must really take effective action on the issue because housing should not be a mere political stunt and the incoming administration has to be committed to improving the welfare of citizens by implementing resilient and decent housing initiatives.
Adebayo cited a situation where a civil servant is unable to afford a home of six million naira, even after being in service for upwards of twenty years, stating that the practice all over the world is that houses are purchased on mortgage and not on cash-and-carry basis.
He, however, urged the incoming government in Nigeria to be consistent in creating an enabling environment to attract investment in housing and make the private sector thrive.
With special reference to the current housing situation in Nigeria, Adebayo used the opportunity to call on the incoming administration of President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to approach issues of affordable housing in a manner that is radically different from what his predecessors had done. The HDAN Executive Director urged the incoming President to ensure the Central Bank of Nigeria redoubles efforts at strengthening the mortgage system in the country.
The new government must not be involved in the direct construction of housing but instead collaborate with credible developers with an excellent record of achievements while also ensuring regulation of the real estate practice with the objective of promoting professionalism in the sector, Adebayo said.
HDAN also notes that there is a need for a radical perspective on the part of key players and relevant government agencies in ensuring land availability as well as better regulations and professional inputs in developing designs to reduce cost.
It is also important for the new government to engage manufacturers of cement in a bid to reduce the continuous rise in the price of building materials across the country.
He called for a partnership model that will guarantee a win-win scenario for all stakeholders based on willingness to sacrifice.
With a robust mortgage system, Adebayo assured, corruption at the level of the civil service will be cut down drastically.
While emphasising that the construction and use of decent housing also affect the well-being of the people, physically and mentally, as well as the environment, he challenged the incoming government to prioritise the issue of affordable housing in the interest of all Nigerians, as it is not only a necessity but a matter of the rights of citizens.