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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

NIGERIA AT 62: Lack Of Political Will Responsible For Little Achievement In Social Housing Delivery – HDAN

•  Stakeholders Urged To Show More Interest In Active Politics

As Nigeria marks its 62nd Independence on October 1, Stakeholders in the built industry say nearly all sectors in the country are experiencing tough times, of which the housing sector is not exempted.

Nigeria, with its abundant natural and human resources, has the potential to house all of its citizens at 62, but due to leadership failure, many citizens are without a roof over their heads, while others live in slums and unhealthy environments.

Critically examining the Nigerian housing sector in the last 62 years, Africa’s leading housing advocacy group, Housing Development Advocacy Network (HDAN), attributes the little achievement recorded in the sector’s social housing delivery on lack of political will on the part of those charged with governance, coupled with high political apathy of stakeholders, hence leaving the visions and goals of the sector bare in the hands of careless leaders. 

In its 62nd independence address titled: ‘State of Nigeria Housing Sector at 62’, which was made available to Africa Housing News in Abuja, Executive Director of HDAN, Festus Adebayo says Nigeria is not faced with the challenge of policy deficiency, noting that a lot of ideas have been created in the last 62 years capable of spurring the sector to an enviable height. 

“Not that most of those in charge of the policies do not know the economic benefit of housing but the fact remains that they don’t have the political will to house Nigrians most especially those who lack the capacity to own a home”, he added. 

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Tapping from the words of Plato on politics and democracy that say: “If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools”, Adebayo charged stakeholders in the housing construction industry to show interest in politics. 

“Having analyzed the performance of the housing industry in the last 62 years, it is crystal clear that it is time that stakeholders in the industry do more in the area of participating in politics other than talking when they have nobody to represent their interest and implement all that have been said or deliberated upon in the last years. 

“It’s therefore a burden responsibility of stakeholders to pick interest in all available political parties and ensure the participation brings about the political will we have all been looking for.

“Stakeholders must shun the “what I can benefit” syndrome and participate in active politics to rescue the sector”, he said.

While noting that political participation could be in varied forms, the HDAN boss says all the avenues should be adequately exploited “if we really want a change in the sector and most importantly, want the contribution of the sector to the nation’s GDP to be more than 5% that it’s contributing as of today.”

Making reference to the recently inaugurated Keyan President, William Ruto, Adebayo was quoted as saying that Ruto presented a comprehensive agenda for the country’s housing sector, claiming that Nigerians still find it difficult to see any of the Presidential or Governorship aspirant in Nigeria that is really interested in using housing potentials to reduce insecurity, health problems, and unemployment. 

His words: “As it stands, we still await the housing agenda of Presidential and Governorship aspirants in Nigeria ahead of 2023 polls. However, we still can’t find anyone who is keen on using housing to solve myriads of problems in the country.”

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The housing sector is the backbone of most developed economies and an important tool for stimulating growth. Housing construction indices are among the most commonly used measures by analysts to forecast economic trends in OECD countries. In more developed countries such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Canada, the sector accounts for between 30% and 70% of GDP (GDP). Housing investment accounts for 15% to 35% of total global investment, and the sector employs approximately 10% of the global labor force.

It is a well-known fact that housing is used not only for shelter but also as a source of income through rental arrangements. Such income opens up new opportunities for increased access to basic goods and services as well as investment in human capital and knowledge.

Housing serves as a business location and provides intangible emotional and cultural benefits. Housing activities in developing countries, like in the developed world, have economic benefits that extend beyond the housing sector.

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