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Mixed Reactions Trail FG’s N141b Sector Allocation, Social Housing Project

Dan Okezie-Lagos Nigeria (TheHeat) Housing experts have expressed mixed feelings over the 2017
appropriation of N141 billion for the sector, saying that if properly
administered could bridge the nation’s housing deficit.

The Project Director, Artic Infrastructure, Lookman Oshodi said if the budget is matched with the Ministry’s intention of building 40 blocks of housing through direct construction in each of the 27 states that have made land available, there could be the possibility of achieving
about 6,480 units but the budget may not be sufficient to deliver the units and the complimentary infrastructure.

He however, stressed that the concept of adopting made in Nigeria building materials, if available in the right quantity by the Federal Government could be the right step which will strengthen budget performance.

“The Federal Ministry said the houses will be constructed through direct construction model while in another it is looking at private sector as developers to increase the supply of housing.

“There is need to have clarity in the delivery model as this will have
huge tactical implications on the budget outlay and other housing
development indicators. Equally important is the actual field or
project disbursement period for the budget sum of N141 billion. This
will likely be in August or September 2017 which is five to four months before the end of 2017, eroding housing delivery intentions for
the year.”

The Chairman, Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of
Nigeria (ESVARBON), Mr. William Odudu, said the budget is a step in
the right direction.He however said the disbursement of the funds and
for what sector of housing will determine its effectiveness and
benefit to the people of this country.

“I have always maintained that the government should concentrate on
housing for the needy, the low income earners and not for the well to
do or high income earners.“ If the budgeted funds are channelled to
housing the low income earners, it will go a long way to reducing the
housing deficit”, he said.

On the provision of N100 billion for Social Housing in the 2017
Budget, Odudu said it is a good sign that the government is thinking
seriously on how to subsidize cost of housing for the low-income
earners or those that cannot have access to housing loans.

According to him, the low income earners don’t all need to own their
houses but government should find ways of providing cheap and
affordable housing for those who need to be housed or given shelter.

“Government must take care of those who cannot afford to buy their
homes or who have no access to housing loans.According to him, it has
been a routine that allocations are made in form of budget only for
government to withhold the money.

But the immediate past president of Association of Housing
Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN), Dr Ifenna Chukwujekwu said it is not
yet uhuru for the built environment until the money is released.

Chukwujekwu, who is also the Real Estate Developers Association of
Nigeria (REDAN) , Vice President South East; said proper analysis of
the allocation will be done on the release of the money and not on
mere allocation.

Also, the Chairman, Lagos Chapter of Nigerian Institute of Quantity
Surveyors (NIQS), Dele Mafimidiwo commended the Federal Government for
taking the steps in the right direction in addressing the housing
deficit through the budgetary allocation.

According to him, the government has taken a bold step to start from
somewhere though it may be very small amount when we consider the 21
million-housing deficit in the country. “I believe that such bold
steps is very good. If Government can continue to earmark fund
continuously like that, it will definitely go a long way in solving
the housing shortages.

“Although, this may not have significant impact of reducing the
housing shortages but definitely it will still have an impact no
matter how small. This is better than not doing anything,” he said

Mafimidiwo also commended the Federal Government on its commitment to
social and national housing programmes, saying it will gradually help
in mitigating against housing shortages in the country.

He however called for private sector participation because according
to him, Government alone cannot solve this problem of housing shortages.

His view also received tacit support from Oshodi, an architect, who described the N100billion budget for new social housing programme as a welcome development.

According to him, it appears that the Federal Government is on the
track to actualising the provisions of chapter eight of the National
Housing Policy regarding social housing.

The budget, he said, may not achieve the desired results because of lack of implementation structures.

“Apart from Cross River State that has institutionalised social housing policy; other states are yet to have institutional commitment to the housing model. “Since the states have been identified as the implementing partners in the National policy, the current budget should go into supporting the States to build institutions and
processes that will drive social housing in their respective urban and
rural communities. Attempts to construct houses at this stage under a social housing scheme will amount to waste of scarce public resources.

“On the other hand, the N41billion federal government’s National
Housing Programme needs further clarity on its goal, objectives, delivery strategies and beneficiaries.

“If it will be deliver as an integral part of agriculture settlements, being developed by the job creation unit under the office of the Vice President, it is a good approach of decentralising qualitative housing delivery in secondary cities and rural communities across the country,” he added.

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