A leading NGO in Africa under the aegis of Housing Development Advocacy Network (HDAN), has called on the incoming administration to prioritise housing for the good of Nigerian youths as well as create in them hope for homeownership.
The group in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Festus Adebayo, in Abuja, noted that housing is so critical for economic growth and development of a nation due to its impact on major macroeconomic indicators such as employment, savings, investment and labour productivity.
“Some of these youths who are angry have resorted to the popular trend “japa”. It is when you create hope for them that they can stay and work with the government for the development of the country, he noted.
“We strongly recommend a NOT TOO YOUNG TO OWN A HOME SCHEME as one of the things that the new administration must implement. The last elections showed the angry state of Nigerian youths, we therefore call for govt’s attention to this through housing and agriculture” he added.
According to HDAN, linking housing with agriculture will no doubt reduce the japa syndrome and also minimise rural to urban migration.
Adebayo pointed out that the federal government under former President Olusegun Obasanjo led the establishment of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), BUMPA and Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria and other professional bodies in the construction industry which were very active.
Late President Yar’Adua had on his priority review the Land Use Act.We can also say President Jonathan made appreciable efforts in its bid to provide affordable housing to Nigerians.
Since 2015, under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, efforts have also been made to deliver affordable housing through the establishment of Family Homes Funds Ltd and other initiatives.
Adebayo, said the current situation requires the government to include housing as part of its first five top priority areas because housing remains the most compelling index in measuring the growth of the economy in developed countries like America and not oil.
He said the government must really take radical 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 and policies, and the youths must be given priority
The Executive Director 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.
It is with reference to the current housing situation in Nigeria that Adebayo called 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.
He also urged the incoming President to ensure that 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 houses but instead collaborate with credible developers with an excellent record of achievements while also ensuring effective regulation of the real estate practice with the objective of promoting professionalism in the sector” Adebayo said.
HDAN further noted 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 in the sector.
“It is also important for the new government to engage manufacturers of cement in a bid to reduce the continuous rise in the prices of building materials across the country” Adebayo noted.
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, corruption at the level of the civil service will be cut down drastically” Adebayo assured.