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Kalu To Stakeholders: Collaborate With Reps To Fix Housing

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Hon. Benjamin Kalu, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, has encouraged all housing sector stakeholders to work together in resolving the various challenges, notably the alarming notable deficiency in housing units.

He assured that the 10th House is open to working closely with all stakeholders to ensure the people’s housing needs are met.

While delivering his goodwill message as a special guest at the 17th Africa International Conference on Housing in Abuja on Monday, Kalu who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Hon. Toby Okechukwu lamented the report of 16. 9 million housing deficit in Nigeria.

According to the deputy speaker, the report highlights Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, and Abuja as cities experiencing an annual 20 percent surge in housing demand.

He said: ‘I would like to start with a look at the current state of housing in Nigeria. As you know, it is self evident that we have a huge housing deficit presently in Nigeria. According to a study by researchers at the African Development Bank in the ‘Housing Market Dynamics in Africa’, there is a housing deficit of up to 16.9 million units. According to the World Bank, Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, and Abuja, has a 20 percent rise in housing needs yearly. Current total output in the formal housing sector is estimated at no more than 100,000 units. While well corroborated data does not exist, it is clear that the formal sector is only producing a fraction of the total number of urban units needed each year.’

‘This is a major problem, as it has a negative impact on our economy and on the quality of life of our citizens.’

Read also: Speakership: I’ll Respect APC’s Zoning Arrangement – Kalu

In Nigeria, the housing deficit can be traced back to several factors, including rapid urbanisation, population growth, and the inadequacy of affordable housing finance options.

‘The housing deficit in Nigeria is a major challenge that needs to be addressed. The 10th House of Representatives, led by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, is committed to working with stakeholders to find solutions.’

‘The 10th House of Representatives is willing and able to partner with stakeholders to enable Nigerians benefit from an improved Housing Sector. We are willing when approached by stakeholder inputs to expend our legislative powers to fixing Nigeria’s housing sector challenges. It must also be stated that the development of Housing would be difficult without huge investments in key infrastructure like roads, urban planning, waste management, and energy. As is the theme of this event, we need to make housing happen in Nigeria.’

‘We urge you to approach the House with your ideas and actionable plans for a better Housing Sector. We need your inputs to ensure that the housing sector in Nigeria delivers on its promise to provide housing for all.’

‘Specifically, we encourage you to propose ideas on how to make it easier to access affordable housing finance; invest in infrastructure to make it easier to build and develop new housing units; promote public-private partnerships (PPPs) to bring together the resources of the government and the private sector to address the housing deficit.’

‘We believe that your ideas will be valuable in helping the executive led by President Ahmed Bola Tinubu and the National Assembly to develop a comprehensive plan to address the housing deficit in Nigeria.’

Kalu voiced his discontent with the mortgage system, citing its adverse effects on the common man’s ability to own a house. Additionally, he addressed the contrasting viewpoints Nigerians hold on the land use act, emphasising the importance of lawmakers enacting impactful legislation.

‘The lack of affordable housing finance is a major problem. In order to access a mortgage in Nigeria, you would need to have a large down payment and a high credit score. This is very difficult for many Nigerians, as they often do not have the financial resources to meet these requirements. Consequently, a majority of Nigerians are excluded from access to housing finance.’

‘There are varying views regarding the impact of Land Use Act on the development of the Housing and Mortgage market in Nigeria. Some hold the view that the Act makes land and mortgage transactions time-consuming and expensive, and could be subject to inappropriate political influence and corruption.’

‘Here is also belief that the Land Use Act is a necessary legislation required for the protection of all Nigerians and that it provides a framework for orderly development in Nigeria.’

Responding to these challenges, the National Assembly sought public input by calling for Memoranda on whether the Land Use Act should be eliminated from the Constitution on May 7, 2012. The eventual outcome was a rejection of the Act’s removal by Nigerians.

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