Globally, there is a strong consensus that housing development is important for stimulating economic growth and job creation in any economy.

Indeed, housing construction is one of the most used indices for gauging the economic situation in most developed countries. As a matter of fact, housing construction indices, such as the Case-Schiller index, are some of the most common measures used by analysts to gauge economic trends in OECD countries and in the US.

Available data has however shown that most African countries do not see and treat the housing sector as engine of economic growth. For example, looking at the size of mortgage finance as a share of GDP of various countries, in the UK, mortgage finance to GDP ratio is about 80 percent and 77 percent in the US. For Hong Kong, this ratio is 50percent, across Europe the average is about 50 percent, and for Malaysia it is 32 percent. For many African countries, the ratio is low: 2 percent for Botswana, 2 percent for Ghana, and only 0.5 percent for Nigeria. South Africa is the outlier with mortgage finance at 31 percent of GDP.

At a World Bank forum, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Minister of Finance & Coordinating Minister of the Economy, spoke about three crucial roles that the housing sector can play in national development. According to her, the sector can serve as an important contributor to economic growth; support job creation and economic inclusion; and provide social benefit by contributing to community and nation building.

“The housing sector can support job creation and economic inclusion. The job creation potential for the housing sector is enormous. In India, each new housing unit generates 1.5 direct and 8 indirect jobs. In South Africa, each housing unit creates 5.62 direct jobs and 2.5 indirect jobs.

The sector can help promote economic inclusion by creating jobs for craftsmen and artisans such as masons, plumbers, welders, electricians, painters and so on. Also, the housing sector provides social benefits by contributing to community- and nation-building. Home-ownership often gives citizens a true stake in their communities.

The Housing sector has the potential to generate employment opportunity, increase productivity, raise standards of living and alleviate poverty thereby reducing the increasing level of crime rates, insurrection, militancy, terrorism among other sundry social maladies rocking the country.

This is because construction of housing units requires the services of architects, engineers, draughtsman, bricklayers, tillers, plumbers, iron benders, painters, carpenters , block moulders and other vendors.

More so, empirical evidence has shown that the construction of a one-bedroom bungalow requires the services of 50 persons, and for a two- bedroom bungalow 76 different professionals.

To this end, observers conclude that 1000 housing units of two – bedroom bungalow would create 76,000 jobs. If this is replicated annually in each of the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, a total of 2,812,000 jobs would be created on annual basis.

It is based on these postulations that analysts believe that the housing sector has as much, or even   greater potential than the oil sector in promoting the rapid growth and development of the economy.

It is therefore our request on Housing Development Television that the new administration of president Mohammadu  Buhari and his vice , Prof. Yemi osinbanjo will give housing a priority.

As part of our own effort , Housing development TV will host the 9th Abuja Housing Show that will bring together Government functionaries at the federal, State and local levels, including Federal Ministry of Housing and state ministry of lands and housing ; major operators such as the new Mortgage Refinance Company, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Federal Housing Authority, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, Mortgage Bankers Association of Nigeria  and regulators, such as Central Bank of Nigeria to set agenda for the new administration. There is no better time than now. For more on Abuja Housing Show log on to htt://www.housingnews.org.ng/

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