Nigeria’s housing deficit demands emergency attention, says Olomola-Sijuwade



The Managing Director  and CEO of Nigeria Police Property Development Company, (NPFPDCC) ‘Kemi Olomola-Sijuwade, mni  says the housing deficit in Nigeria demands emergency attention.

She made this assertion during the media launch  of the NSHP Model Home and Information Portal of the National Social Housing Programme in  Abuja. According to her, “Nigeria has an estimated housing deficit between 16million to 22million, and to bridge it, we would need to build a minimum of 700,000 to 1million housing units every year for probably a decade. Whereas, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria presently builds an average of only 100,000 housing units per year and only a few working-class Nigerians can afford to buy one. This ought not to be so.

She added, “With Nigeria’s population presently over 200million and estimated to hit 263million by 2038, the housing deficit problem in the country demands emergency attention and response by all relevant stakeholders in the industry.

“This is why I am particularly very pleased by this occasion of launching the National Social Housing Programme, being implemented by the Family Homes Funds and targeting to construct 300,000 housing units across the country. With initiatives and commitments like this, we can all begin to see a ray of hope rising in the horizon towards addressing this unwelcome menace in our country. And the Nigeria Police Force Property Development and Construction Company Limited cannot be happier for the opportunity of being a major developer-partner in this laudable project initiative.”

“Furthermore, let me point to the fact that the housing deficit in Nigeria is as much a supply problem as it is a demand problem. I am not in any way inferring that Nigerians do not wish to own homes or live in healthy and comfortable environments; but that most housing is not affordable to the majority of Nigerians. So, one of the key ways to increase demand for housing in Nigeria is through the availability of funds to enable ordinary Nigerians, the average income earner, to be able to own a home at minimal cost, as against the current prevalent model where intending home buyers have to save up and make full cash down payments. And the way to achieve this is by providing massive and affordable access to mortgage facilities over prolonged tenures.
If this is achieved and sufficient awareness is created, like what is being done here today with this event, I am convinced that we would see increasing demand for housing in Nigeria. And with growing demands owing to availability and access to affordable housing funds, supply will grow as more developers and other stakeholders will confidently invest in the sector knowing that their returns are guaranteed. More so, this will orchestrate a ripple effect on the economy at large as more jobs will be created and other sectors like manufacturing, insurance and transportation and will be bolstered, and construction will take its rightful place in contributing significantly to the National GDP beyond its meagre average of 7% in recent years – thus emulating the sector’s contribution to most developed economies around the world like the USA and Australia.

“It is against this backdrop that we have decided to partner with mortgage institutions, especially Nigerian Police Mortgage Bank, in the implementation of this National Social Housing Programme, both for the men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force and the general public – all who would be interested in securing a home in this 2,000-housing unit development in Dei-dei, Abuja and in the various other locations across the country. If you are one of such, we sincerely encourage you to take advantage of the National Housing Fund. The Federal Government has in its wisdom and commitment to Nigerians availed the fund at a remarkable 6% interest per annum, and if you are a public servant or work in the organized private sector, you’re very likely a contributor already and thereby entitled to secure the fund. So, take advantage of this opportunity to own a home for yourself and your family.”

Olomola-Sijuwade used the occasion to hail the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari,Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) and   IGP Mohammed Adamu, mni.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Femi Adewole, MD NSHP said  “Today we are doing two things. Firstly, we are launching the Online Platform which will power the National Social Housing Programme, connecting the actual building of the homes to beneficiaries, the army of young builders and construction workers we hope to raise through the programme and finally local manufacturers of building materials.

“Secondly we will be introducing you to the sample homes we have built each costing N1.4m and N1.8m for the 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom units respectively. As these are just samples they exclude financing and infrastructure costs.

He noted that “The BoS 2019 Poverty and Equality report in indicated that 40.1 percent of our total population were classified as poor. In other words, on average 4 out of 10 individuals in Nigeria has real per capital expenditures below 137,430 Naira per year. This translates to over 82.9 million Nigerians who are considered poor by national standards. According to the BoS 18% of these (about 15m) live in urban areas.

“In simple terms, it means that all 82.9m Nigerians can afford to spend on anything – housing, food, healthcare, education, clothing is a maximum of N137,840 naira a year. So it is safe to assume that they can only afford to spend a fraction of this on housing.

“But even if they spent all of that money on housing – they would still be unable to have a decent roof over their head, especially those in the urban areas because as housing professionals we have found every reason (many justified) for not providing for them.

“But if we are going to build a strong economy, if we are going to realise our undoubted potential, we can’t do it by a lacklustre attention to the predicament of such a large section of our population or avoiding it because it is difficult. It will be like trying to fight with one hand tied behind our back.

“That is why this Government rightly and absolutely committed to the difficult job of lifting this section of our population out of poverty. The mass housing programme – now branded the Social Housing Programme is an important element of that. We are thankful to His Excellency, President Mohammadu Buhari and the administration for their commitment to this objective and leadership.

“So the two things we are doing today are the first steps on what is no doubt a long and difficult journey towards ensuring that every child regardless of the economic status of his or her parents has a safe and decent roof over their head. A place to nurture their dreams and hatch their potential away from the grip of poor housing.

According to Adewole,  “The Online Portal which is being launched today will do a number of things.

“Firstly it will enable us to allocate housing in an open and transparent way. Individuals can log on the site to register interest in specific projects. For those who are not able to navigate modern technology, we will collaborate with other partners including Mortgage Banks and Co-perative Society to provide assistance.

“Secondly, it provides opportunity for group of young professionals with qualification, skills or experience in building and construction to register interest in participation as SME Partners. Typically SME Partners will be given the opportunity to build about 20 – 30units of housing initially going on to larger opportunities as they grow. We expect to hire about 6000 SME Delivery Partners during the life of the project.

“Finally, the portal will provide opportunity for local manufacturers of building materials such as doors, windows, ironmongery etc to register interest in participation as bulk suppliers into the project. This will help us achieve one of the project objectives of ensuring up to 90% local inputs by 2021. It will have the opportunity to revitalize parts of our manufacturing sector and create more jobs.

“I encourage you to visit the site at www.nshs.com.ng

He gave further details on the sample homes thus: “As I said earlier, the second thing we are here to do, is to introduce you to our experiment – a N2m home. The journey towards inclusive housing.

“We embarked on this experiment for three reasons:

“Firstly, to test out our assumptions about the feasibility of building a home at this threshold cost and see what it will look like;

“Secondly, to test acceptability with potential occupiers and you as housing professionals. Drawing on your feedback to adapt and continuously improve.

“Thirdly, to show that its not easy, but its possible!”

He expressed gratitude to the Nigeria Police Force Property Development and Construction Company, saying, “Honestly, without their support and their land which was given free, it would not have been possible.”