With the ever rising housing needs of Nigerians, due to population explosion and urbanization, which experts recently put at over 20 million units, there is need for participants in the year’s Abuja Housing Show to deliberate on the vital issues hampering housing delivery in Nigeria.
The recent revelation that Nigeria’s housing deficit is over 20 million units, should is a pointer to that fact that as a nation, we need to take more proactive actions to save this country acute housing crisis in the nearest future, a situation that will then prove more difficult to handle by all and sundry. Any stakeholder in the Nigerian housing sector, who goes about believing that housing shortage in the country hovers around 17 and 18 million needs to back to record. Therefore, when at a housing function lately, the Managing Director, Nigerite Limited, Frank Le Bris, stated that Nigeria’s housing shortfall was over 20 million.
And this seems to be practically true owing to that fact that it was not yesterday 17 million units of housing deficit projection was given. It was in 1990 that the United Nations (UN), which then saw the acute shortage of housing in Nigeria, and came up with that forecast. It is plain truth that between 1990 and 2015, you have a 25-year. Obviously, going by our population growth, the figure could have doubled.What does this ponder? It simply means we could be heading for housing revolution in the country and a situation where over 85 percent of the population has no homes of their own to reside in, thus leaving just 15 percent of the population that could claim ownership of their own homes. And this 15 percent of the population are majorly the rich.
This is why when an event like the Abuja Housing Show is convened, stakeholders should advantage of the opportunities it presents to deliberate and chart the way forward for in a sector as important as housing. So, in this year’s version of the show, Nigerians expect something different from the usual because of the potentials inherent in the sector, which if critically harnessed could unlocked lots of economic benefits to Nigerians who are in dear need of affordable housing.
This year’s Abuja Housing Show is slated to take place between Monday, July 6 and Wednesday, July 8, 2015 and is the biggest platform for exhibition of housing and products in Nigeria. The Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) is poised to kick-start the event with a session tagged “Affordable Housing for Nigerians- What does this exactly mean?”
Its Coordinator, Mr. Festus Adebayo, had in a statement said representatives of notable organisations drawn from different areas of the housing sector would attend and, will be part of the deliberations. They include but not limited to the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), National Pension Commission (PENCOM), the National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria (NICON), the Mortgage Bankers Association of Nigeria (MBAN), and the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN).
Nigerians expect much more useful and viable discussions to ensue among these participants, who will in turn come up with a communiqué that will engender strategic policy formulation in the housing sector, by the current administration capable of putting the country on a better stead towards addressing the housing needs of its citizenry. Nigerians expect the FMBN to tell them more what exactly the role of the National Housing Fund (NHF) is in helping them own their own homes. This is because, many contributors to the fund say they don’t know its benefits. Some who agree that they the benefits, say it is difficult accessing the fund. These are issues that the apex mortgage institution should try to clarify during this show.
Nigerians also expect the CBN to tell industry captains what it is doing to bring down much more, the current interest rate, which intending mortgage seekers said is stifling their effort at trying to raise loan.
Stakehilders also want to know if the REDAN could come up with a policy after the show that would make it impossible or difficult for developers not to defraud their clients who entrust them with money to build for them. This is so because for we to actually have affordable housing for all Nigerians, all these factors must be taken into consideration and seriously, too.
Housing alongside agriculture have been identified as growth areas in the Nigerian economy and interestingly, real estate, going by the recent GDP rebasing exercise, was discovered to be the sixth largest sector of the economy.
According to Adebayo, who is also the Chief Executive Officer, FESADEB Communications Limited, organizers of the show, “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”. He however lamented, that most African countries do not see and treat the housing sector as engine of economic growth which is why housing sector contribution to GDP are lowest in these countries.