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Economic distortions impede housing development

The distortions in the Nigerian economy are mostly responsible for the myriad of housing problems confronting the country.

Chairman, Nigeria Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Lagos chapter, Mr. Elias Ovesuor, expressed this view recently in Lagos. He said that the distortions include dearth of finance for housing development, meager earnings of an average worker relative to requirements for a living standard, decay of socio_economic infrastructure and poor value system among others.

“The distortions in the economy caused housing problems. Until those distortions are corrected, the problem would persist unabated. When people debate housing shortage, my position on that is that there are some distortions in our economy and until those distortions are corrected, the issue of housing shortage will always be there.

There are distortions in terms of salary paid to people vis_à_vis what is required of them to live a standard life, infrastructure provision and the abandonment of our value system.

“In a decent environment, the above things mentioned are supposed to be basic items and not part of people’s expenditure. Here you pay for everything, you provide your electricity and also contribute to the cost of almost everything that ideally the government should have provided to the people. All these reduce saving for housing,” he stated.
Ovesuor said government should take a cue from South_Africa that produces a million housing units every year for the low_income bracket, while praising the Lagos State government on the provision of good road networks which, according to him, is a pre_requisite condition in housing delivery.

The Lagos NIESV Chairman noted that private sector participation in housing development may not be effective in mass housing delivery because they are profit_driven and as such mostly cater for the needs of high income earners.

He lamented that workers have had to pay much more than what they earn to obtain a living, asserting that in the quest for mass housing government has to look beyond private initiatives.


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