By Henry Umoru
THE Senate, Thursday mandated its Committee on Housing to as a matter of urgency, work out modalities with the various stakeholders in the National Housing Development sector to ensure the implementation of affordable housing for the poorest Nigerians.
Resolution of the Senate was a sequel to a motion on the “Urgent need to reform the Housing Policy and Mortgage Financing in Nigeria to meet the escalating housing demand in the country.”
Presenting the motion, sponsor of the motion, Senator Albert Bassey Akpan, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Akwa – Ibom North-East noted that low and middle-class income earners constitute the largest active population in Nigeria.
According to him, the population, finds it difficult to have access to housing in their lifetime, just as he recalled that the creation of the National Housing Fund through the National Housing Fund (NHF) Act of 1992 was specifically intended to cater for Nigerians in line with the various Housing policies and International Conventions and Treaties to which Nigeria is a signatory.
According to Akpan, by virtue of the provisions of the NHF Act, a working-class Nigerian is required to contribute 2.5 per cent of his or her monthly salary to the fund which provides the source of funding to the Primary Mortgage Institutions (PMIs).
He said, “Access to the fund through the PMI is cumbersome due to stringent and complex eligibility criteria which makes the development of housing through the fund challenging or practically impossible to date.
“Since the creation of the fund in 1992, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria as at 2013 disbursed only N100.5 billion.
“In 2015, out of 4 million registered contributors to the fund, only 60,000 (1.5%) were able to access mortgage loans through the funds, leading to the construction of only 40,653 houses across the country.”
Akpan who further lamented that there exists little or no impact of the National Social Housing Development Programme in the country over the years owing to the escalating population growth in Nigeria, said, ” There is dire and urgent need for a total review of our National Housing Policy framework to meet the needs of our people, especially the poorest Nigerians in line with the various International Conventions/Treaties of which Nigeria is a signatory.”
In his contribution, Senator Fadahunsi (PDP, Osun East) called on the Federal Government to undertake an immediate overhaul of the country’s housing policies with a view to easing the burdens of poor Nigerians, adding, “There is need to reorganise the housing policy, so that it will benefit the whole of Nigerians as soon as possible.”
In his contribution, Senator Binos Yaroe Dauda (PDP, Adamawa South) described Housing as “one of the fundamental needs of man.”
He called for a review of housing policies and mortgage financing, added, “It is important for this sector to be reformed so that our people can have houses.”